India firm on emission cut stand

India firm on emission cut stand

Domestic steps to tackle global warming not up for scrutiny

India firm on emission cut stand

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh asserted that India’s national voluntary domestic measures to tackle global warming were not up for international scrutiny, and that progress on these would be checked only by the country’s Parliament.

He made it clear that India will not agree to the concept of “peaking”, a clause incorporated in the first official draft, which mandates developing nations to cap their emissions although it does not mention any time-frame for that.

Ramesh said the “peaking” clause will adversely impact the development of rural electricity in the country, which is already facing a huge backlog in this area. While ruling out any dilution of the previously-stated “red lines” drawn by India, the minister said he had “come here to play a constructive, facilitative, leadership role to ensure an effective and equitable agreement”. His comments came in the backdrop of a clash between India and the European Union on the contentious issue of making domestic commitments legally-binding and verifiable.

European Commission Director General Karl Falkenberger said on Friday night that the EU expected India, China and other emerging economies to report on their national mitigation programmes, which would be incorporated in an international treaty.

“We need these contributions from everyone. We need them in a legally-binding manner from everyone. Differentiated commitments, we can accept, but it has to be verifiable,” Falkenberger said.

The remarks drew objection from India, with senior negotiator Chandrashekar Dasgupta noting that Falkneberger’s position fell short of climate justice. Sensing a bid to “change the rules of the game”, he said India was “seeking climate adequacy and climate justice”.

India had last week announced a series of climate mitigation steps aimed at reducing emission intensity by 20-25 per cent by 2020 on the 2005 levels. It, however, made it clear that the steps were voluntary and not legally-binding or open to international scrutiny.