Cancun climate change summit to kick off tomorrow

Cancun climate change summit to kick off tomorrow

Breakthrough unlikely as India firm on Kyoto Protocol extension

But any major breakthrough is unlikely to emerge from the summit. “An extension of the second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol is non-negotiable. This is a common position from the BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) group,” said Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.

In the normal course, the first commitment period of Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. But with no new treaty in sight and the rift between the rich and poor nations widening on emission cut, the developing block and emerging economies want to hold on to the KP as the last ditch effort to restore the debate on “equitable carbon space” in the climate change negotiation.

Beginning on Monday, the 12-day meeting under the aegis of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change may not witness any major policy change in global emission reduction. The world’s biggest polluter, USA, has shown little enthusiasm to operationalise its own domestic emission-cut legislation and the task is more difficult now for the Obama administration after losing the mid-term polls.

In the absence of an US commitment, European nations, Canada and Australia may not reveal much. But they would continue to exert pressure on the emerging economies — India and China included — for a commitment.

The BASIC countries accuse the rich world of adopting double standards for their failure on containing emissions. Also there is not much financial support for the Southern countries, which the North promised at Copenhagen and technology transfer remains a permanent thorn in the flesh due to intellectual property rights issues.

“Cancun gives us the last opportunity to bring back credibility in the climate change negotiation system,” said Ramesh. Besides KP, forestry, technology transfer and MRV-ICA will be other hot issues at Cancun on which some forward movement can be expected.
India’s critical issues

The most controversial of the lot is MRV-ICA — measure, report and verify with international consultation and analysis. Critics believe this is a cover to allow back door entry of foreign inspectors for Indian climate change mitigation and adaptation projects.

“India has a proposal on MRV-ICA, which has been presented to Mexico (chair of UNFCCC 16 session of Conference of Parties at Cancun). There is no unanimity on the Indian proposal but nobody has rejected it outright,” he said.

Sunita Narain, who heads the Centre for Science and Environment here, said accepting MRV would eliminate the distinction between the rich and poor nations made so far on the basis of historical responsibility.

At the last year’s high-profile Copenhagen summit, developed nations committed $30 billion new and additional fund as fast-track financing between 2010-2012 to help the poor countries tackle climate change.

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