India stresses equity in climate change regime

April 21st, 2008 - 8:26 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Mumbai/New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) Ahead of the G8 summit in Japan in July, India Monday made a vigorous pitch for equity in global negotiations on climate change and outlined the country’s strategy for sustainable and clean development. “India’s stand in international negotiations is based on the simple principle - the polluter pays,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Special Envoy on climate change Shyam Saran said at a seminar on ‘Climate Change and India’ in Mumbai.

Tracing the record of carbon emissions from 1850 to 2000, Saran pointed out that while the US leads with 30 percent, the EU 25 contributes 27.2 percent followed by China 7.3 percent.

“India accounts for only 2 percent. Thus in the multilateral negotiations on climate change, India strongly advocates equity,” stressed Saran.

“India emits about 1.1 tonnes of carbon per capita while the corresponding figure for the US is more than 20 tonnes,” said Saran.

“India does not consider itself a major emitter by way of total volume of carbon emissions or per capita emissions,” he added while alluding to attempts by developed countries to avoid their legal obligations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol.

Reiterating India’s principle of collective but differentiated responsibility on cutting down global greenhouse gas emissions, Saran clarified that there is no legal obligation on the part of India under the existing international climate change framework to take on binding emission reduction obligations, now or in the post 2012 period.

Saying that India is open to embracing clean development mechanism, Saran said sustainable development strategies in developing countries, through the transfer of financial resources and technology from developed countries, should not be linked to any conditionality on developing countries.

India’s national plan on climate change will be released in June. The government is planning to deploy a battery of officers and experts to grapple with intricacies of climate change which is set to be one of the key trans-national issues in the years ahead, sources said in New Delhi.

Japan will host the G8 summit of the world’s richest nations in the northern island city of Hokkaido July, which will be the focus on evolving strategies for dealing with climate change and global warming.

Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon is in Beijing to discuss with other outreach countries like China, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa - permanent invitees at the G8 summit - to coordinate their positions on climate changes and other interlinked issues.

Climate change is moving to an important position in the country’s foreign policy with different ministries, agencies and individuals coordinating to fine-tune India’s position on this crucial issue at global fora.

Saran will look after international negotiations relating to climate change with a core group of negotiators.

The plan will flesh out a strategy for sustainable development and will include major national level missions, such as solar mission, a national solid waste management plan, a nation-wide effort to create a huge carbon sink of afforested land, water conservation mission and the adoption of international best practices and efficiency norms for a range of key industries.

The plan will be finalised by a coordination group headed by Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal. A special cell created in the environment ministry will monitor the action plan.

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