India favours climate adaptation without cap on development

April 29th, 2009 - 1:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama By Arun Kumar
Washington, April 29 (IANS) Asserting that it cannot accept a cap on development, India has proposed a collaborative approach to the problem of global warming to achieve sustainable development with a strategic shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

“We cannot accept a cap on our development,” Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Climate Change Issues Shyam Saran said Tuesday, proposing a rapid adaptation of technology that takes into account the overriding interest of development.

Saran, who led the Indian delegation to a two-day meeting of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate set up by President Barack Obama, found a similarity in the Indian and US approach to the issue. The meeting ended Tuesday.

Obama, he told reporters, had proposed the forum for the twin issues because from the US perspective energy independence and climate change are two related issues. “This fits in with our own approach.”

Calling energy security as very important, he said: “We don’t want energy to become a constraint. So in a sense there is a congruence in the US and Indian approaches.”

Saran said the first of three preparatory sessions here for a summit-level meeting set for July in Italy saw “a very candid airing of the different national circumstances that we face”, adding that this allowed delegates “to begin the process of building trust among the major players”.

The Italy summit in turn is aimed at generating a consensus for action in advance of the opening of global negotiations in Copenhagen in December on a successor to the 1997 Kyoto protocol.

The talks included scientific presentations by Energy Secretary Steven Chu and White House scientific adviser John Holdren as well as a White House meeting with President Barack Obama and an address by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

India made a presentation on what it’s doing to enhance energy efficiency, particularly in its buildings, Saran said, noting that India had been able to achieve 8-9 percent growth with energy use growing by only 3-3.5 percent.

At a news briefing Tuesday, US Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern said the Washington talks were less confrontational than similar past meetings in part because of the new administration’s approach.

“I’m not trying to over-sell. I describe myself as a bit more optimistic because to a person everybody - the Chinese, the Indians, the Brazilians, everybody - came out of that room feeling I think more optimistic than they went into the room frankly.

“But I would not downplay or underestimate the difficulty of getting an agreement in Copenhagen, and the enormous difficulty of wrestling this problem to the ground,” he said.

Deputy White House National Security Adviser for International Economic Affairs Michael Froman said all the delegates in Washington showed a willingness to work together in a very forward-looking way to try to make progress.

“There were no backward-looking recriminations. It was all looking toward success in Copenhagen first and foremost, and making sure that the leaders meeting in July created the right momentum in these various areas,” he said.

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