New panel to fight climate change draws mixed response

February 29th, 2008 - 10:22 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of P. Chidambaram

New Delhi, Feb 29 (IANS) Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s announcement in his budget speech Friday that the government would soon set up a “permanent institutional mechanism” to coordinate the fight against climate change drew mixed reactions from India’s NGO community. Chidambaram said: “We can - and we must - do a number of things in our self-interest. We can promote clean technology products; we can review fuel emission and efficiency regulations; we can replace wood by solar as the fuel of common use; we can encourage the use of gas which is the most benign hydrocarbon; we can set up a trading platform for carbon emissions; we can build sustainable greenfield cities; and we can do more.

“In order to explore and implement these and other ideas, (the) government proposes to establish a permanent institutional mechanism that will play a development and coordination role. Details of the institutional mechanism will be announced shortly.”

Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and director general of The Energy and Resources Institute, welcomed the move. “What is required today is an institutionalised structure for coordinating the range of developments mentioned in the finance minister’s speech,” he said.

But the political and business unit campaigner for Greenpeace India Srinivas Krishnaswamy said: “What we need at this point of time are time bound concrete measures and not institutional mechanisms, especially as we now have less than eight years before we reach a point of no return.

“We do not see any incentives for industry to adapt cleaner technology, like subsidies for the generation of solar power.”

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