BJP flays Ramesh's stand on climate change policy

The BJP sharply reacted to the “radical change” suggested by the minister while the Congress, refusing to comment, said it was left to Ramesh and the Prime Minister’s Office to react. Sunita Narain, Director of Centre for Science and Environment, was also critical of the minister’s statement.

Ramesh has suggested that India junk the Kyoto Protocol in order to bring the United States into the global fight against climate change. He has also taken a stand that India would be better off in the G20 group of nations rather than with G77 and China — with which it has been aligned in climate talks.

He has also suggested that India permit the external scrutiny of the measures it takes at its own cost. The minister has taken this stand in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week. Ramesh’s stand amounts to radically shifting India’s stand, if approved,  away from its position on climate negotiations — the stated Indian stand since 1990 — and which was reaffirmed at the UN talks in Bangkok earlier this month.

The controversy rekindled by Ramesh’s reported letter is over the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012, when its current “commitment period” expires. At this month’s talks in Bangkok in preparation for the climate summit in Copenhagen this December, the EU and Australia proposed ditching the Kyoto Protocol and coming up with a new global treaty so that the US would come on board.

BJP leader Arun Jaitely said India emits only 1.2 tonnes per capita of green house gases as compared to 20 tonnes by the US. “It is the developed nations which have not complied with the obligations and are now suggesting its abandonment... It will undermine India’s credibility as a leader of the developing nations even in the Doha round of talks of the WTO which are currently under way.” 

Narain said that the “idea of changing India’s position to bring the US on board is retrograde and immature.” 

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