India challenges UNDP report

India challenges UNDP report

New Delhi: India has challenged a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report released on Tuesday that recommends that major developing countries be party to a binding international agreement on climate change.

“Any multilateral agreement without quantitative commitments from developing countries will lack credibility in terms of climate mitigation. At the same time, no such agreement will emerge unless it incorporates provisions for finance and technology transfer from the rich nations that bear historic responsibility for climate change," said one of the key findings of the Human Development Report (HDR) 2007-2008 titled Fighting climate change: Human solidarity in a divided world.

By 2050, developed countries should cut their emissions by at least 80% of the emission levels prevailing in 1990, with 20-50% of the cuts effective by 2020, the report said. Similarly, for developing countries, the report said that developing countries should accept 20% cuts by 2050 with emissions allowed to peak by 2020.

“The report as it stands is misconceived and cannot be a basis for international negotiations on climate change," said Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission at the conference where UNDP released the report.

“This is the first time I have seen a United Nations report talk of developing nations to take up commitments. I challenge the research team to supplement their research," he added.

Maxine Olson, UNDP resident representative, said: “UNDP does not endorse any of these reports. It is an independent research report."

Mint had reported on 30 October that UNDP was suggesting mandatory cuts by developing nations.

The UNDP study is the latest in a series of such reports, published over the last month, arguing for developing nations such as India and China to adopt mandatory cuts in CO2 emissions.

Developing nations are not keen on accepting mandatory cuts as this will involve significant expenditure in clean technology, crimping their ability to spend on developmental projects.

India has been stressing the fact that its per capita emissions are 20 times lower than that of the US and about 10 times lower than that of the UK.

“The report completely ignores per capita emissions. If the developed world is so concerned about the world then why don’t they reduce their per capita emissions. And our prime minister has already promised that even while we grow, our per capita emission will never cross that of developed nations," said Ahluwalia.

The HDR confirms that developed countries are failing to meet their targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol.

The report also recommends that CO2 emissions from the transport sector should be reduced through stronger fuel efficiency standards and asks all countries to work towards a 20% target in renewable power generation by 2020.

The UNDP report also recommends the creation of a Climate Change Mitigation Facility to mobilize $25-50 billion annually to support low-carbon transitions in all developing countries. A policy paper presented at climate change talks in Vienna by India said that the incremental cost of mitigation for the country would be $2.5 trillion (at purchasing power parity) over the next 43 years (till 2050).

“The logical right to emit should be equal and should give more right to those, who have emitted quite less comparatively. The UNDP report does not acknowledge that at all," Ahluwalia said.

The report also recommended that at least $86 billion be provided in new and additional finance for adaptation through transfers from rich to poor by 2016 to protect human development.