Ramesh swears by per capita emission norm

Opposition led by BJP stages walkout stating that it was dissatisfied over the reply by the minister

Ramesh swears by per capita emission norm


As India’s per capita carbon emission is almost 20 times less than that of the US and 10 ten times lower than that of the European Union, New Delhi always cited the per capita argument to justify its increasing pollution load.

The official position given out by the government at all levels is: Since India has to grow for its development and poverty alleviation, it has to emit...as the economy is driven by carbon.

On Thursday, Ramesh stated in the Lok Sabha that  “per capita is an accident of history” and India has to go “beyond per capita” to offer something more. Minutes later, he announced cutting down of India’s carbon intensity by 20-25 per cent by 2020. This evoked strong reactions from political parties and energy analysts. The BJP and CPM urged Ramesh to negate the “equal per capita principle” which India had propagated in the past.

Two of India’s seasoned climate negotiators—Chandrsekhar Dasgupta and Pradipto Ghosh—expressed their worries on the government’s position. Responding to a Zero Hour submission by the Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley, Ramesh reassured the Upper House on sticking to the per capita emission argument. “We are not going to deviate from the per capita principle. I want to reassure that the two pillars of our negotiating strategy remain the per capita convergence, ultimately, which is the only equity instrument that I have pointed out in my letter, and the historical responsibility,” he said.

However, the opposition staged a walkout as the Minister’s assurance that India would not succumb to international pressure in Copenhagen summit could not satisfy them. “India is following a bad strategy as it has disclosed all its cards even before the international summit by announcing 20-25 per cent emission intensity cut by 2020. Also there is no reciprocity in return,” Jaitley said.

Left, AIADMK and Samajwadi Party leaders also staged a walkout on the same issue.
The Minister also clarified his Lok Sabha statement on international scrutiny of unsupported mitigation projects. “The level of MRV (measurement, review and verification) on unsupported projects will be different,” Ramesh said.

The government will allow international scrutiny of those projects, which receive funding from abroad. But other unsupported projects will also be a part of India’s National Communication to the UN. According to Ramesh, a mention in the NATCOM—a Kyoto obligation for India—can be construed as an indirect MRV for unsupported mitigation projects. “We have nothing to hide,” he said.

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