PM to join Obama in Copenhagen

Government could consider 20-25 per cent emission cuts by 2020, says Ramesh

PM to join Obama in Copenhagen

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Saturday confirmed that Singh would leave for Copenhagen on December 17 and attend the concluding session of the historic climate change conference.
American President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao are among the other world leaders who are likely to attend the summit on the concluding day.

The PMO confirmed Singh’s participation in the summit two days after Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh told the Lok Sabha that India would consider bringing down carbon emission intensity by 20 to 25 per cent by 2020.

The US on Friday said it was encouraged by the announcements made by India and China on their respective emission cut plans. Though New Delhi is still not prepared to accept a legally binding emission cut target, Singh’s participation in the summit will signal greater seriousness on the part of India.

India is in the fifth place in the global emission intensity rankings. The government had initially announced that Jairam Ramesh and the prime minister’s special envoy on climate change, Shyam Saran, would represent India in the conference.

But the decision of Obama and Jiabao to attend the conference put pressure on Singh too. Obama had requested Singh to attend the summit during the latter’s visit to Washington last month.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, too, had asked the prime minister to represent India in the conference, when the duo met on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit in Port-of-Spain.

The United Nations hopes to reach a comprehensive political consensus at the conference.

The Danish government has invited 191 heads of states around the world, and more than 100 are likely to make it to the event on the last two days – December 17 and 18.

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