Poverty alleviation first: PM

Developed countries want emission cut commitment from India and China

Poverty alleviation first: PM


Without denying the seriousness of climate issues to which India is fully committed to, Singh said that poverty alleviation would continue to be India’s top priority even though it was closely linked to increasing the emission load.

“Climate change cannot be addressed by perpetuating the poverty of the developing countries,” Manmohan Singh said before leaving for Copenhagen to attend the 15th conference of parties (COP 15) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
With millions of Indians not having access to electricity and other basic amenities, India is in no position to accept either any legally-binding emission cuts or any peaking year.

Development means construction of many coal-fired power plants and associated distribution network, thousands of new buildings, roads and bridges, setting up many more industries and improving the transportation and trade.  All these will add to the global carbon footprint.

As such, rich nations wanted an emission cut commitment from India and China, both of which are big emitters in absolute terms. But in per capita terms, their carbon emission share is minuscule compared to the USA and European Union.
“It is in keeping with this principle that I had earlier announced in Heiligendamm in 2007 (G8 meeting) that we will maintain our per capita emissions at a level lower than the average per capita emissions of developed countries,” Singh said.

Entitlement
Referring to equitable distribution of available carbon space, the Prime Minsiter said, “Every citizen of the globe has equal entitlement of the global atmospheric space.”
As the rich nations are bringing pressures on India and China, which are viewed as “deal-breaker”, the Prime Minister  said, India was fully committed to working with the rest of the world to preserve and protect the environment.
“This is our common heritage, and this is what we must bequeath to our succeeding generations,” he said.

On its own India has promised to cut down the emissions intensity of its growth by 20-25 per cent in 2020 as compared to 2005. Moreover, a comprehensive national action plan on climate change and the eight National Missions have been set up.
“We are willing to do more, provided there are credible arrangements to provide both additional financial support as well as technological transfers from developed to developing countries,” Singh said.

As rich nations try to open up newer negotiation avenues, India reposed its faith on the UNFCCC and its Kyoto protocol which embody the internationally agreed regime for addressing climate change.  
The Bali Action Plan seeks to ensure full, effective and sustained implementation of the UNFCCC through long term cooperative action of the parties up to and beyond 2012.

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