India talks tough on climate issue

Legally binding emission target will be resisted, says PM

India talks tough on climate issue

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with his British counterpart Gordon Brown at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM) in port of Spain on Friday. PTI

Articulating the Indian position at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting’s (CHOGM) special session on climate change here, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made it clear that New Delhi would not accept any attempt to club the developed countries with developing countries like India. The reason being that historically the industrialised countries were responsible for the present crisis on the climate change front.

Singh said any attempt at using the climate change issue to stunt India’s economic development or to effectively reduce the country’s economic competitiveness by imposing legally binding emission reduction targets on the lines of those applicable to developed countries would not be acceptable to India.

India is deeply wary of attempts by the West to bracket rapidly developing countries like itself and China with the developed countries while proposing to set up stiff emission reduction targets under the Bali Action Plan mandate of 2007 to implement the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

In view of India’s tough posture and suggestions that India might downgrade its participation in Copenhagen, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has been specially invited to attend the CHOGM climate change session, made an appeal to the prime minister to attend the Copenhagen summit.

Emphasising India’s position, Singh said: “India is willing to sign on to an ambitious global target for emission reductions or limiting temperature increase but this must be accompanied by an equitable burden sharing paradigm…Climate Change action based on the perpetuation of poverty will simply not be sustainable.”

He said while the Bali Action Plan required enhanced implementation of climate change requirements in respect of mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology, it was important that finance and technology wereavailable to developing countries. He endorsed British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s proposal to set up a dedicated US$100-billion fund to help developing countries implement climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. But India felt access to this fund should be concessional and not dictated by market considerations.

However, the prime minister made it clear that India was not about to play a spoiler’s role in Copenhagen.

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