A global treaty to combat climate change should not impose greater burdens on developing countries, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in New Delhi on Thursday.
Delivering the inaugural speech at the Feb 5-7 Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS), Mukherjee said: “India is very concerned about climate change, but we have to see the issue in the perspective of our imperative to remove poverty so that all Indians can live a life of dignity.”
DSDS, on the theme of equity and ethics on the road to a new global treaty that is expected to be finalised by the next climate summit in Copenhagen this December, comes at a time of global economic crisis, when there are question marks on the willingness of industrialised countries to pay developing countries to cope with adverse effects of climate change.
Referring to the bailouts for firms affected by the financial crisis, Mukherjee said it had shown “money can be found if there is political will”. He also warned the world leaders gathered for DSDS - including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon - that "there will be no bailouts for the climate crisis later”.
Reiterating India's commitment to take action to combat climate change, the minister said: “We'll ensure low-carbon intensity of the Indian economy. But on the global front, the key issue is equitable burden sharing.”
Mukherjee reiterated Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's call to set up a global fund that would promote applications of renewable energy as well as R&D for it.
“India can play a very important role in the global combat against climate change,” Ban said at the next session, asking it to “exercise and demonstrate commitment and leadership”.
There were four essential requirements for a successful global treaty by December, Ban said. “How developed countries will define their greenhouse gas emission reduction targets by 2020; then developing countries have to define their scope and format of their actions to mitigate their GHG emissions by 2020; this will depend on how industrialised countries provide financial support and transfer technologies to developing countries; then there is the question of how these finances are to be governed.”
Climate change, caused by increase in concentrations of greenhouse gases - mainly carbon dioxide - in the atmosphere, is already affecting farm output, increasing water scarcity, making droughts, floods and storms more frequent and more severe and raising sea levels. Ban has earlier called it “the defining challenge of our times”.
RK Pachauri, head of The Energy and Research Institute that is organising DSDS, said at the inaugural session there had been a “steady shift” since the climate summit at Bali in December 2007 to “do-nothing positions”, and warned that science had clearly shown this would lead to catastrophic consequences.