India looks for life beyond Copenhagen

PM set to leave for climate summit

India looks for life beyond Copenhagen


Delhi’s expression of disappointment over Copenhagen’s failure came just hours before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s departure to the Danish capital to attend the high-level segment of the climate meet.

The negotiators in Copenhagen failed to arrive at a consensus document on emission reduction as the extended deadline for the purpose expired on Wednesday. The only option left to salvage something out of the failed conference is to issue a political statement, which has been under consideration even before the global meet got under way ten days ago. “A political statement will not measure up to our expectation. But we will not give up the struggle. There is life beyond Copenhagen,” foreign secretary Nirupama Rao said here.

Singh and heads of state from many other countries, including US President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, were invited by the host country Denmark’s prime minister to come out with a political statement, which could be viewed as the saving grace for the failed summit.

Over the last nine days, negotiators failed to achieve any breakthrough. The developed world stubbornly refused not only to accept “deep and ambitious” emission cuts, but also tried hard to junk the Kyoto Protocol to evade their responsibilities.
The developing block countries, including India, China and a large number of G-77 countries, on the other hand, refused to budge from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change that relies on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” and Kyoto Protocol that asks the rich nations to cut down their carbon dioxide emissions.

The developed world appeared to have deviated from the Bali Action Plan as well. The 2007 UN Action Plan requires industrialised nations to assist the developing countries with “technology and finance” so that they can shift to a low carbon pathway. “The outcome of the Copenhagen conference should not be a new template to distract the negotiations from the Bali Action Plan,” the foreign secretary said.

When asked if India was looking forward to next year’s climate summit in Mexico or the mid-year UN climate meeting in Bonn, Rao said, “We are eternally hopeful. But we have to assess the outcome of Copenhagen to determine the next strategy.” She said the PM was going ahead with his visit despite the meet’s failure because India wanted to convey to the world it was serious about the climate change issues.
“We are not a naysayer. But we simply cannot accept legally binding emission cuts and a peaking year as they constrain our goal of poverty alleviation,” she asserted, brushing aside apprehensions about a rift between India and other developing countries.

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