India asks rich nations to do more on climate change

April 14th, 2008 - 11:25 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of P. Chidambaram
By Arun Kumar
Washington, April 14 (IANS) India wants the rich nations to massively reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and provide more financial and technological help to the developing countries to deal with the problem of climate change. Given their responsibility for causing the problem, the developed world has these two clear obligations, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said Sunday at what was dubbed as the “Bali Breakfast” as part of the International Monetary Fund-World Bank Spring Meetings.

“The developed world has caused the problem with many decades of unsustainable development process. But it is the poorer countries that will be worst affected,” he said at the breakfast meeting convened by World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick to take the Bali process forward.

“It is very important to have developed and developing country ministers at the table so that the developing country voices can be heard,” Zoellick said, as “the drive to address climate change won’t work if it’s seen as a rich man’s club”.

Meeting in Bali in December, countries had agreed on a road map for two years of talks aimed at securing a treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol on climate change when its first period expires in 2012.

All the nations had a shared responsibility to think through the complex challenges of climate change and come up with fair, equitable and imaginative solutions, Chidambaram said, declaring: “No discussion on climate change can be taken forward without underscoring the deep inequity in the causes and impacts of climate change”.

On their part, Chidambaram said, developing countries can start working on key vulnerabilities like “climate proofing” of public infrastructure investments, food security, water resources and pursue policies to incentivise private actions towards energy efficiencies.

Noting that India’s GHG emissions are among the lowest in per capita terms, he said: “They will, of course, inevitably increase as we endeavour to remove poverty and provide basic needs to all the people”.

But even while pursuing development goals, India’s per capita GHG emissions will always remain below the per capita GHG emissions of developed countries, Chidambaram said as categorically declared by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

India has unilaterally taken significant steps to meet the challenges, which include measures to promote clean technology, review fuel emission and efficiency regulations, mass transport systems, encouraging the use of gas and building sustainable greenfield cities.

The Indian government has spent 2.6 percent of the GDP during 2006-07 on adaptation-related activities and plans to establish a permanent institutional mechanism to play a coordination role to explore and implement ideas on climate change and to take on the important responsibility of advocacy, he said.

Global action on climate change will require building trust between developed and developing countries, Chidambaram said. “There must be trust about the neutrality of processes or institutions through which agreements are implemented, money is disbursed or disputes are resolved.”

The Indian minister said climate justice must inform all efforts at international cooperation in this field. The solutions should include fair burden sharing and measures to realise sustainable patterns of consumption and production.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change should be the only basis for a global compact, anchored as it is in the well-established principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibility, he said.

Calling on the nations of the world to join hands to deal with the problem, He said: “I assure you, India is and will continue to be a responsible and conscientious citizen of the world”.

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