‘Negligence towards carbon emissions control in recession’

February 26th, 2009 - 9:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Feb 26 (IANS) Recession is making rich countries more negligent towards controlling carbon emissions, environmentalist Sunita Narain said Thursday, adding it was time to “reinvent opportunities” to control pollution.
“As it is, between 1990-2006, carbon emissions of rich countries have increased by 14.5 percent; it has increased by 20 percent in America alone. But no one has taken the initiative to bring any structural change to curb it,” Delhi-based Narain told IANS while on a visit here.

“And now, with recession around, western countries are becoming more negligent and indifferent towards carbon emission control. They are not interested any more to invest in building low-carbon economy,” she added.

However, Narain, who is a member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change, feels recession is the right time to strike at pollution.

“Despite the negative impact of recession, I feel this is the right time to reinvent opportunities to control pollution and execute them. After all, climate change is related to economic growth.”

Narain said the forthcoming climate protocol to be signed by all countries this year would be the toughest negotiation for all.

“Despite years of protracted negotiations and targets set under the Kyoto Protocol, no country has been able to delink its growth from the growth of emissions. No country has shown how to build a low-carbon economy as yet.”

“The new climate protocol to be introduced at Copenhagen this year will be the toughest one for India, as well as the rest of the world. This is because the agenda is very clear - the rich industrialised countries must take deep and drastic emission reduction targets; 30-40 percent reduction over 1990 levels by 2020.”

“Simultaneously, countries like India and China can take steps to avoid emissions by leapfrogging to efficient technologies and to renewables,” Narain said.

The fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had estimated global average sealevel is going up by roughly two mm a year. At current growth of greenhouse gas emissions, it is estimated that temperature will increase by 5-7 degrees Celsius by 2100.

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