India against turning domestic pledges into international pact

India against turning domestic pledges into international pact

Activists of a US Youth Climate organisation protest outside the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen on Thursday. REUTERS

India said its targets were not up for review as the US and China exchanged barbs at the key climate talks here over the blame for global warming and funds to mitigate the problem.

“We already have an agreement... we are quite prepared through our national communications to report what we are doing, but that is for the purpose of information only,” Chandrashekar Dasgupta, senior Indian negotiator at the climate change meet here, told PTI.

“It is not subject to review, to verification, to re-negotiation, to dialogue or any such thing. It is a nationally determined voluntary target... nothing less, nothing more,” said Dasgupta, who has also served as the Indian ambassador to China and European Union.
India has set a goal of 20 to 25 per cent reduction in carbon intensity by 2020, compared to the 2005 levels. Dasgupta’s remarks came a day after US special envoy on climate change, Todd Stern, said here that emerging countries like India, China and South Africa would not be given a “pass” on carbon emissions and that they needed to wrap up their “significant” proposals into an international agreement.

As Environment ministers and negotiators from 192 countries discussed tackling climate change at their marathon meeting here, the US and China, the world’s two largest carbon emitters, traded heated exchanges.

“Provision of financial support to developing countries by developed countries is not an act of charity or philanthropy of rich people,” Yu Qingtai, China’s climate envoy, told reporters. “It is the legal and historical responsibility of the developed countries.”
However, Stern said “we absolutely recognise our historic role in putting emissions in the atmosphere, up there, but the sense of guilt or culpability or reparations, I just categorically reject that.”

Uncertainties remain

At this point of the negotiations at the Copenhagen conference, the commitments made on mitigation and finance by developed countries have not yet emerged and a lot of uncertainties remained in key outstanding issues, Indian officials here said.

“The level of ambition, which has so far been indicated by the major developed countries, does not really add up to what we would regard as being significant,” Shyam Saran, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Special Envoy on Climate Change, said.

“It is not keeping in with minimum range of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).” UN scientists from the IPCC have underlined the need for aggregate emission reduction by industrialised countries of between minus 25 per cent and 40 per cent over 1990 levels by 2020 with global emissions falling by at least 50 per cent by 2050.

In the BASIC draft prepared by India, China, Brazil and South Africa, countries taking nationally voluntary measures are obligated to report on how these are going through national communications to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the implementation of these targets are up for internal domestic review only.

Stern, the US climate change chief, also said that while China had made significant commitments, the world would like to see more. He urged Beijing to make “a real commitment,” highlighting that while the US emissions were flattening out and then going down, China’s emissions were steadily rising.

The Indian side noted here that if the US was assessing the “adequacy” of China’s commitment, India could be up next for this assessment, which negated the basic fact that these announced targets were “voluntary” and could not be subjected to an adequacy check.

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