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India Stands Firm Against Binding Reductions

10/08/09

Post by Sumeru Chatterjee (India)

Minister of state for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh put an end to speculation that India was softening its stand by allowing international verification of its steps for climate change mitigation or by agreeing to international commitment for quantified cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Ramesh clarified rumours that his speech at the UN suggested that India might accept binding targets. “There is no question of India taking (an) internationally binding commitment. Full stop,”said Ramesh

Ramesh had said India was open to the idea to provide the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) an annual report on steps taken for climate change mitigation and the outcomes.

Under the Kyoto protocol, expiring in 2012, only industrialised countries have committed themselves to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and submit annual reports on their measures. Developing countries — including India — are obliged to submit a ‘national communication’ report every six years to the UN climate body. The report is generic and cannot be questioned or scrutinised by other countries.

Negotiations leading up to the climate change conference in Copenhagen in December are deadlocked on the question of similar demands on developing nations.

India has insisted that the measures it undertakes, as part of its domestic measures to counter climate change, will not be subject to international verification and reporting, unless it is funded internationally or uses technology received from abroad.

India’s case and the argument it is based on, as explained by economist Arvind Pangariya, is that “mitigation by India in two or three decades is neither necessary nor sufficient to arrest global warming and its consequences”. The richer world accounts for over 50% of carbon emissions and China brings the proportion to over 70%. In contrast, India accounts for less than 5% of global emissions.

“The argument that mitigation is not feasible without India’s participation is thus political. As a bargaining tactic, the United States Congress refuses to undertake internationally-mandated mitigation obligations unless India accepts them… the stock of carbon in the atmosphere in two to three decades will continue to be dominated by emissions accumulated over the past century. Therefore, in so far as the impact of human activity on global warming, rains, floods, sea levels and hurricanes in two to three decades is concerned, the die is already cast,” Pangariya said.

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