Lack of breakthrough at climate summit does not worry India (Second Lead)

December 13th, 2008 - 1:04 am ICT by IANS  

Poznan (Poland), Dec 12 (IANS) India is not worried about the lack of any breakthrough at the Poznan climate change summit as “this was going to be a stocktaking exercise anyway” and would help take the process from “discussions to negotiations”, a top Indian official said as the summit wound to a tepid end here Friday. Despite the presence of over 3,000 representatives of 186 governments, with over 5,000 NGO representatives egging them on at the Dec 1-12 summit, the only big thing governments could agree to was that they would start negotiations for a global climate deal and would do their best to stick to the deadline of finalising it by the end of next year.

“That is an important part of the process, and I am happy that negotiations can now start,” Ministry of Environment and Forests Secretary Vijai Sharma told IANS.

Sharma, who led the Indian government delegation, recalled that the summit before the Kyoto Protocol was signed in 1997 had not resulted in any breakthrough either, “but was important in moving the process (of creating a deal to fight climate change) from analysis to negotiations.

“Now, just like that, we can move from discussions to negotiations.”

Another member of the Indian government delegation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said “the big plus point of this summit was that the G77 countries and China stayed together despite attempts by some industrialised countries to break the grouping”.

“Two, some industrialised countries tried to wriggle out of their commitments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, by shifting it to the long-term cooperative action plan, but they did not succeed.”

The world’s top green superstar Al Gore spoke to the delegates on the closing day of the summit with his usual passion, but appeared resigned that there would be no concrete outcome at the Poznan summit.

He asked the delegates to ensure that a new treaty to combat global warming was in place by the end of next year.

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer had already dampened expectation from this summit by saying: “This is a blue-collar conference, about getting a job done and not about a spectacle or a breakthrough. It has agreed on the agenda for negotiations in the coming year”.

In other words, they would keep talking.

Climate change is being caused by increasing greenhouse gas emissions, mostly by industrialised countries and is already leading to lowered farm output, more frequent and more severe droughts, floods and storms and a rise in sea level.

Under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, industrialised countries are supposed to reduce their emissions by five percent from 1990 levels during the 2008-2012 period, though almost all of them have actually increased their emissions.

The Poznan summit was an important halfway mark to the deadline of December 2009 by which a global treaty must be negotiated for the post 2012 period.

Despite the lack of any substantive outcome here, that negotiation process remains on track, Gore said he could see that “the road to Copenhagen was open”. The next summit will take place in the Danish capital.

As the final session of the Poznan summit started, there was still no agreement on actually making operational a fund that would help least developed countries adapt to climate change effects. At the beginning of the summit, it was hoped that this would be its crowning glory.

There has been zero movement over technology transfer to and financing for developing countries to help them move towards a greener economy, or over reforming the clean developing mechanism that has been set up to pay developing countries for green projects.

The idea of paying developing countries to halt deforestation has only moved to methodologies over how to measure the benefit it provides in terms of reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

(Joydeep Gupta can be contacted at

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