West must pay for India’s clean technology: UN official

March 20th, 2008 - 6:31 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, March 20 (IANS) If a power plant coming up in India for $500 million can embrace clean technology for an extra $50 million, developed countries must pay the difference, a top UN official has said. United Nations Development Programme Administrator Kemal Dervis said developed and developing countries had different responsibilities, but would have to strive together to reach a goal of two tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per capita, which would mean a global warming of two degrees Celsius.

Scientists have warned any climate change beyond this level would potentially have disastrous consequences.

Delivering one of the Talking Tomorrow lectures organised by think-tank The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) Wednesday evening, Dervis said that since developed countries were responsible for the stock of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that had led to climate change, “it can’t really be fair to ask developing countries to take a leading role in solving the problem”.

But the noted economist did want developing countries to play their part, and said since reducing carbon dioxide emissions “would provide a global public good, it should be financed internationally”.

The UNDP’s Human Development Report last year, on the subject of climate change, had been slammed by India’s Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia because it suggested that developing countries take on the responsibility of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent while developed countries reduce theirs by 80 percent between 1990 and 2050.

Ahluwalia had said such a move would hamper India’s quest to provide electricity to 400 million people who still lived without it in this country. In its place, he had repeated Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s suggestion that per capita greenhouse gas emissions be equal throughout the world. Greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide, are responsible for global warming.

Dervis said the route to equal per capita emission was 80 percent reduction by developed countries and 20 percent by developing countries, though in this way the per capita equilibrium would be reached 10 years later, in 2060.

This did not mean that developing countries should not increase their energy generation or move towards the same standard of living as in developed countries, Dervis hastened to add.

Only, the development path should be different, and the industrialised countries should pay the extra cost of treading the new path.

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