India now cool with Copenhagen accord

Yet, UPA government sticks to UN two-track negotiation process

India now cool with Copenhagen accord

Schoolchildren hold placards as they take part in a rally to protest against rampant pollution near the India Gate in New Delhi on Wednesday. AFP

In a statement tabled in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh stated that India would associate itself with the Copenhagen Accord following Brazil and South Africa. China, too, is likely to follow suit.

Both New Delhi and Beijing, however, stated that it could not be considered a separate third track of negotiation. Rather it may help the nations to arrive at an agreed outcome under the United Nations  two-track negotiation process.

On Monday, an official from the Union Environment Ministry wrote to the UNFCCC marking India’s association with the accord.

Seat for India
The decision is believed to have come as a quid pro quo for accommodating Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia in the United Nations secretary-general’s panel on climate change financing.

Headed by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his Ethiopian counterpart Meles Zenawi, the United Nations secretary-general panel has five experts and officials from financial institutions besides representatives of 14 countries.

The panel is scheduled to meet in London for the first time on March 29.

It  is likely to submit its final report by October so that the United Nations  Secretary- General has at least a month to decide the future course of action before the Mexico round of climate change negotiations, which may result in a global emission reduction agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012.

BASIC countries—Brazil, South Africa, India and China — will now have top-representatives in the UNSG panel.

Having country representatives is indicative of better bargaining on the part of New Delhi, when the panel decides how the fund to tackle the perils of climate change would be collected and where it would be spent.

India was under pressure from the United States of America to be associated with the accord while France and Mexico—president of the next climate summit—too threw in their weight.

The rich and influential countries are now rallying around the Copenhagen accord, though its official status still remains “political document and not a legal one.”

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