Rich countries framing climate debate to suit themselves: India

October 6th, 2009 - 6:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh By Joydeep Gupta
Bangkok, Oct 6 (IANS) Rich countries have been framing the climate debate to suit themselves rather than looking at the way global warming affects most of the world, which is why a global treaty is proving elusive, India’s top climate negotiator said here Tuesday.

“They don’t talk about equity, they only talk of how to protect their lifestyles,” the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Climate Change Shyam Saran told a group of Indian NGO representatives.

Saran is leading the Indian government delegation at the Sep 28-Oct 9 talks here to prepare for this December’s climate summit in Copenhagen. A large number of Indian NGO representatives are shadowing the negotiations, which are meant to draft a treaty to fight climate change.

But the negotiations are bogged down because industrialised countries are unwilling to spell out to what extent they will commit to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions after 2012, or how much they will pay developing countries to tackle climate change which is almost totally due to the actions of the rich countries, but from which poor countries suffer the most.

“The industrialised countries keep talking about how the large populations in India and China are using up the world’s resources. I remember once when it happened, an African delegate got up and quoted from a World Bank report to show that an American or a European child uses 30 times as much natural resources as a child from Africa,” Saran said.

“The trouble is, when we make these points, they are not refuted. If someone tells me I’m wrong, then I can have a discussion. But nobody says that. They simply ignore what we say, and get back to their agenda.”

Saran urged the Indian NGOs to push into climate debate concepts like equal per capita emissions around the world - first mooted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2007.

“What we want from a climate treaty is a cleaner world where our children can grow. We can get a treaty as long as we keep that basic point in mind,” he said.

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