Blair comes to India on green mission

March 15th, 2008 - 5:05 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh
By Manish Chand
New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) Former British prime minister Tony Blair arrives here March 20 in his new avatar as an eco-warrior to win the backing of India for a new global deal on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2050. Blair is likely to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal and discuss with them a host of bilateral and global issues, including his ambitious initiative on climate change and the peace process in the Middle East.

Blair, who also works as the envoy of the so-called Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators, comes here as a consultant to The Climate Group, a nonprofit organization funded by corporations and governments from around the world.

He will also meet Shyam Saran, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Special Envoy on the India-US civil nuclear deal who was recently appointed as special envoy on climate change, an official source told IANS.

The two will discuss the nuclear deal as Britain was one of the first few countries, including Russia and France, to vigorously support the deal and India’s accommodation in an evolving global nuclear order.

With climate change emerging as a burning issue in the developed world, India has firmed up a strategy of projecting nuclear energy as clean energy in a bid to win the support of the 45 Nuclear Suppliers Group countries even as the nuclear deal remains mired in domestic politics.

In Blair’s meetings with Indian leaders and officials, the focus will be on bridging the perspective gap between developing and developed countries on the critical issue of climate change that has the potential to erode global gross domestic product if it is not checked urgently. At the last global summit on climate change in Bali in December last year, India had reiterated its stand of “collective but differentiated responsibility” between developing and developed countries on the issue of responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions

Blair, who is currently in Tokyo for the fourth and final ministerial meeting of the G8 Gleneagles Dialogue on Climate Change, goes to China before coming to New Delhi to garner support for a global deal on climate change while enabling countries to meet their economic, social and environmental goals.

The Tokyo meet, attended by the world’s top 20 greenhouse gas emitters, will set the stage for July’s summit of the Group of Eight (G-8) wealthy nations in the Japanese island of Hokkaido.

Blair’s new mission is ‘Breaking the Climate Deadlock’, - a pioneering initiative targeted at governments and business leaders to bridge differences between the developed and developing world on setting new targets for reducing emissions, post the 1997 Kyoto protocol.

The initiative has identified a set of key countries and regions which are central to a successful global deal, including the US, the European Union, Japan, India and China. It aims at garnering political support across developed and developed countries for a framework for an international agreement by 2009 and implementation strategies that will result in greenhouse gas emission reductions.

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