India changes stance to push for a global deal at Copenhagen
Published 20th October 2009 - 20 comments - 7362 views -
The past week saw some major changes in India's stance before the Copenhagen meeting. India softened its demand of 40% emission reductions from the Annex 1 countries(a Kyoto protocol term for the developed countries expected to agree to binding emission cuts), which is a move that will disappoint many climate change activists across the world, but is a practical step intended to salvage a climate change deal over the next few months.
Until last weekend India was firm in its position, which called for the developed world to reduce their emissions by 40% and also demanded for 1% GDP of Annex 1 countries to finance climate change mitigation in developing nations. India's tough stands over these commitments have been portrayed as 'deal breakers' by the Annex 1 countries.
The environment minister Jairam Ramesh is keen not to be an obstructionist by being more flexible on its stances and suggested that a 25% cut from 1990 levels was more realistic. On the contrary 40 of the G-77 countries and the island nations have been calling for 40% cut, and India's support was considered a key ally to pressurise the Annex 1 countries into accepting this.
The minister also supports the British estimate of USD 100 billion that the Annex 1 countries need to pay to the developing world annually, an estimate on which the rest of the developed world has been silent on. This amount of financing should be more agreeable to the Annex 1 countries, most of which are still suffering from a finance crunch after the recession.
India and China will still not accept any binding cut to their emissions, although India recently suggested international auditing of its domestic mitigation steps. And in a confidential letter to the PM, that was leaked out, Jairam Ramesh seemed keen to take more steps to rein in the USA to a climate change deal. The letter suggests a bilateral agreement in place of the Kyoto Protocol that would be more agreeable to the USA after the Bangkok negotiations, where USA proposed that India must also contribute to financing climate change measures in rest of the world.
All these developments have taken place after the Bangkok negotiations, which saw Annex 1 countries proposing to dilute the Kyoto protocol and start a new framework from the scratch. With 10 weeks remaining before the Copenhagen meeting, there seems to be very little consensus and the rich-poor rift has been growing ever since.
Jairam Ramesh's statements are motivated by appreciation of a desperate need to reach a detailed international agreement in the next few months at least, if not in December. A failure to chalk out any political framework in Copenhagen to reach a comprehensive agreement in the following months would lead to catastrophe. Jeffrey Sachs rightly says that USA, Europe, China, India and few others need start taking practical steps towards such a framework while details can be discussed after December.
Hoping for an effective climate change deal in December now looks utopic and even naive because the numerous recent negotiations have not resulted in any sign of a pending agreement in December. What has been seen are more radical shifts in the tone of the discussion not seen before, perhaps as a result of the pressure of a fast closing deadline?
The recent Indian feet shuffling in the climate change negotiations are certainly disappointing to a large Indian and international crowd, but are an acknowledgement of the Indian government's commitment to reaching a multi-lateral agreement as soon as possible, if not in December.
In December all countries must arrive in Copenhagen not only with political motivations but to embark on a path of taking real steps towards tackling avoiding a global catastrophe. These steps are not going to be easy and will require great political courage. As Gordon Brown said at the Major Economies Forum, "In every era there are only one or two moments when nations come together and reach agreements that make history, because they change the course of history. Copenhagen must be such a time. There are now fewer than 50 days to set the course of the next 50 years and more. if we do not reach a deal at this time, let us be in no doubt: once the damage from unchecked emissions growth is done, no retrospective global agreement in some future period can undo that choice. By then it will be irretrievably too late."
About the author
- Solving India’s exploding urban waste issue
- A retour Amsterdam-India, why not… by train?
- Possibility of climate change by pre-modern farmers?
- I’m Sorry. We Could Have Stopped Catastrophic Climate Change. We Didn’t
- My Conceptual Framework on Climate Change
- India plastic-free?
- Its over before it starts?
- TCKTCK: Got only 10 years to save ourselves!
- Denmark cries in Sea of Blood, 950 Whales and Dolphins KILLED…
- Micro pigs - the ultimate sweetheart energy saver
- If you want to see nude people click here
- Do we really care about our planet? Think twice before answering.
- Bunnies for fuels: not a good story to share in a grade school classroom
- Evolutions in the history of Environment Part 2