Delhi summit aims to push global climate treaty

January 30th, 2009 - 10:21 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 30 (IANS) The Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) here next week is expected to give some momentum to negotiations to arrive at a global treaty to combat climate change by the end of the year, chief of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change R.K. Pachauri said Friday.Pachauri, also the head of DSDS host, the New Delhi-based The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), said progress towards an international treaty since the Bali Action Plan agreed upon in December 2007 “has not really been very impressive”.

But he was confident that DSDS 2009, “which will be attended by UN Secretary general Ban Ki-moon, a number of heads of government and heads of state, three dozen ministers, Nobel laureates, heads of business and industry and of course the academia and civil society”, would provide momentum to the negotiations.

As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is still recuperating from his heart bypass surgery, the Feb 5-7 summit will be opened by Minister for External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee. UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretary General Yvo de Boer - who will have to mediate between all negotiators throughout this year - will also be present.

The summit will be preceded by a one-day CEO forum where plans to give green businesses a boost will be discussed. Recent announcements by new US President Barack Obama had already provided a huge impetus to this segment of the economy, Pachauri told reportes.

Asked about India’s likely position in the negotiations till the next UNFCCC summit in December, Pachauri said New Delhi was likely to stick to the “consistent position it has maintained - that industrialised countries must make the first moves in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and developing countries needed to be paid to adapt to climate change, plus given the additional cost of mitigating GHG emissions and the technology to do so”.

Climate change, caused by human activity-induced addition of GHGs (mainly carbon dioxide) to the atmosphere, is lowering farm output, exacerbating water scarcity, increasing frequency and severity of droughts, storms and floods and raising the sea level.

Developed countries are responsible for most of the extra GHG in the atmosphere since the start of the Industrial Age, but developing countries are bearing the brunt of the effects.

Negotiations over reducing GHG emissions by industrialised countries and financial help from them has been stalled by the global economic downturn, but Pachauri was happy “there was no slideback in commitments in Poznan”, the Polish city where the last UNFCCC summit took place.

Talking about the need for India to move towards a low-carbon economy, Pachauri - a member of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council on Climate Change - said the best way to do it would be to implement the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) “as faithfully as possible”.

The NAPCC, unveiled in June, has eight missions, including one to boost solar energy use and another to improve energy efficiency.

Asked what message he would like to go out of DSDS in this time of economic uncertainty, Pachauri said: “First, the economic problem is due to deep-rooted structural problems, and one of them is excessive reliance on fossil fuels. We have to make the economy more green and this is an opportunity to make that structural shift.

“The second message would be that we can’t afford to wait much longer. If we do, climate change effects are going to adversely affect economies worldwide anyway. Remember that the UN secretary general said Darfur is perhaps the world’s first war induced by climate change.”

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