India free to determine climate contributions

Countries are expected to state target before March 2015

The Lima Call for Climate Action accommodates India’s several concerns and brings back the concept of “common but differentiated responsibility” that will lie at the core of the next emission reduction treaty to be adopted in Paris in 2015.

The summit document dropped any reference to a contentious clause on “ex ante” review of the intended nationally determined contribution, which means upfront review of the emission cut plans by a third party. “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) are to be nationally determined. We do not see any role for any ex-ante review in this process,” Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said at the summit.

The principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities would have to be reflected in the Paris agreement, says the Lima document. This basically means rich nations that played a historical role in warming up the planet because of their industrialisation, must also lead from the front when it comes to cleaning up.

“The efforts of some countries to re-write the convention (UNFCCC) has not fructified. The Lima document gives enough space for the developing world to grow and take appropriate nationally determined steps. We’ve got what we wanted,” said Javadekar, who would return on Tuesday and brief the Prime Minister.

The flip side is that the adaptation planning is still not part of the INDC as the agreement only “invites” the parties (countries) to consider it rather than accepting it. The minister claimed that there will be a greater role of public finance in adaptation funding that is expected to aid the poor countries to cope up with the dangerous consequences of climate change.

As per the Lima agreement, all nations are expected to put their INDC on the table “well in advance” of the Paris summit – by March 2015 by those who agreed – so that the negotiating text can be readied before May 2015 and the aggregate efforts of INDCs to stop the rise in global warming by October 1, 2015 – two months before the Paris summit.

“If the (INDC) numbers don’t add up, all countries are expected to enhance their bid and that’s when things will heat up,” said Sunita Narain, director of Centre for Science and Environment, a Delhi-based non governmental organisation.

“The UN climate talks neither reflect the growing public support for the ongoing transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies nor the urgency to accelerate this transition. Some of the big issues that have been plaguing the talks for years were shirked and could cause headaches later on,” Climate Action Network, an international NGO said in a statement.

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