Government okays change in energy conservation law

Chinese PM calls up Singh, discusses Copenhangen

The amendment will allow steel, cement and aluminium industries to buy energy-saving certificates from the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), which can be traded in the domestic market, sources told Deccan Herald.

This probably is the first step to open up a carbon market in India.
Participating in a climate change debate in the Lok Sabha earlier this month, Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh promised that the amendment would be brought soon to highlight India’s seriousness about reducing its carbon intensity.
The government announced that it would reduce its carbon intensity by 20-25 per cent from the 2005 level by 2020.

The Cabinet decision comes hours before Ramesh’s departure for the UN climate summit at Copenhagen. The high-level segment involving the ministers and heads of states begins on December 16.

The ECA amendment and India’s latest forest cover report showing 21 per cent coverage of Indian land mass with an increase in high-value forest will be the two important planks in the Indian argument for showcasing its willingness and ability to deal with the fallouts of climate change.

Significantly, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on Thursday called up Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss issues related to the Copenhagen summit. China and India are under tremendous pressure from the developed world for making firm commitments to cut down carbon emissions.

The two Asian giants along with Brazil and South Africa have put forward a proposal — known as BASIC draft — to counter an aggressive Danish proposal that has stringent conditions for the emerging economies.

The Cabinet also approved setting up of an empowered steering committee for the National Ganga River Basin Authority under the chairmanship of the finance minister Pranab Mukherjee to fast track projects for cleaning up the sacred river.

The Ganga clean-up projects worth less than Rs 150 crore will be cleared by the empowered committee instead of going to the Cabinet for approval. There will also be a new panel chaired by the Union environment secretary to monitor project implementation.

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