Ramesh seeks bridging of trust deficit on climate

Ramesh seeks bridging of trust deficit on climate

Addressing the 6th Major Economies Forum meeting on Climate Change, Ramesh said though the Copenhagen Accord is undoubtedly an important step forward, but it cannot be a separate track for negotiation. "I have repeatedly said that the areas of agreement reflected in the Accord must be used to bring consensus in the on-going two-track negotiating process which is the only process that has legitimacy.

"Gordian knot-cutting can well be plurilateral but ultimately negotiations must be multilateral and carried out in good faith," Ramesh said in his well received address to the conference through video.  The Minister could not travel to the US because of the disruption in European air route due to Icelandic volcanic eruption. Heads of several of the participating countries could not attend the meeting because of this.

India was represented by the Deputy Ambassador to the UN Manjeev Puri. Laying out a road map for reducing the "trust deficit," between the two blocs on climate negotiations, Ramesh said there must be some visible triggers that get activated very soon to ensure that Cancun does not repeat Copenhagen.

"One such trigger is the beginning of actual disbursement of the USD 10 billion promised by the developed countries for this year for vulnerable economies, small island states and LDCs," he observed. "Another trigger could be an agreement on REDD/REDD+ provided it looks at all potential countries uniformly and does not limit itself only to forest-basin countries.

Finalising the architecture of technology cooperation is yet another confidence-building measure, he said. He said all these elements should be a part of a multilateral package in two tracks that should be delivered in Cancun later this year.

Arguing that equity is the cornerstone of any international agreement that will be accepted by developing countries, Ramesh said the Copenhagen Accord sets a global goal and this will determine a certain global carbon budget.

"The implications of this budget for the carbon budgets of individual countries need to be analysed in detail and it has to be guaranteed as part of any international agreement that development goals of economic growth are not jeopardised by such budgets," he said.

He said the global objective of restricting temperature rise to two degrees Celsius by 2050 from mid-19th century levels must be firmly embedded in a demonstrably equitable access to atmospheric space with adequate finance and technology available to all developing countries.

Ramesh said the Major Economies need to better understand the mantra of "internationally legally-binding agreement" which some developed countries keep chanting. "What does it mean in practice? What are the consequences of non-fulfillment? What are the extenuating circumstances which could allow for non-fulfillment of commitments made as part of such an agreement? What is the place for domestic accountability mechanisms in such an agreement?" he asked.

The Minister stressed that the voluntary actions of developing countries which are subject of such international consultations and analysis should, under no circumstances, be seen as taking on internationally legally binding commitments.

Talking to reporters after the conclusion of the meeting, Todd Stern, Special US Envoy on Climate Change, acknowledged that differences remain among the participating nations on this issue. However, he noted that there "is more convergence than you might think at the broad level".

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