India warns against ‘green label’ protectionism

March 25th, 2009 - 12:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh By Arun Kumar
Washington, March 25 (IANS) India has cautioned the developed world against attempts to introduce “protectionism under green label” as it would only complicate efforts to evolve a “fair and equitable” global regime on climate change.

“What you need is a global collaborative effort to address the issue of climate change and not something which gets linked up with issue of level playing field,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Special Envoy on Climate Change Shyam Saran said here Tuesday.

“Bringing in trade competitive or industrial competitive issues would only complicate the effort that we are trying to make to come up with a global regime which is fair and equitable,” he said in response to a question at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington think tank.

“We should not open doors for protectionism under green label. That is something which would be a very negative development,” Saran added.

“Most developing countries will argue that we are already starting with a very unlevelled playing field. In virtually all international discourse, it has been recognised that development must be kept at the centre of whatever global effort we have. And climate change is no exception to that,” Saran said.

“If you look at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which remains the only consensus legal instrument to deal with the issue of climate change, action on climate change by all countries of the world is not conditional upon any trade or investment related matters,” he said.

“So this has been very deliberately kept out of the action that is required with respect to climate change. What the UNFCCC had envisaged and what we developing countries feel is that what you need is a global collaborative effort to address the issue of climate change and not something which gets linked up with issue of level playing field,” Saran said.

Apart from addressing the Carnegie Endowment and the US India Business Council, Saran Tuesday continued his interaction with US officials on issues related to climate change, which has been accorded a high priority by President Barack Obama.

Among others the envoy met Tuesday were John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Holdren, Obama’s top science adviser and Ed Markey, Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

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