The union cabinet is expected to decide on India's stance at the UN climate conference in Durban with environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan suggesting to adopt a hardline approach and shun flexi-approach of her predecessor Jairam Ramesh.
In a cabinet note circulated, the environment ministry has sought reiteration of India's stance in 2010 that says no to a legally-binding climate treaty, demands a second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol, ensures climate transparency regime is not intrusive and seeks finalisation of the US $ 100-bn green climate fund.
The ministry has also listed equity, technology transfer and unfair carbon tax, which were left out of the Cancun agreements, in the cabinet note. The note says India will take up these issues aggressively in Durban. Already China and 50 out of the 131 countries in G-77 have supported India for bringing the left out issues at Cancun back on the table.
Government sources said India may adopt a flexible approach on the structure of the green climate fund and technology mechanism, which is expected to be finalised
in Durban. India's tough stance in Durban may witness opposition from Jairam Ramesh and planning commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who believe that India has to align its position with the changing global economic scenario to prevent its isolation.
Their views on Thursday's cabinet meeting will be important as China, the world's biggest carbon emitter, has left its options open whereas India is believed to have closed its doors. “India and China are not comparable. Chinese emissions have grown at a much faster rate than India's,” said Sunita Narian, director-general of NGO Centre for Science and Environment.
India believes that it has the support of developing countries like Venezuela, Pakistan, Cuba and Brazil as there is a view that rich nations are trying to hijack the climate talks.
However, South Africa appears to be distancing itself from India and China in a bid to get a conclusive outcome in Durban.
The cabinet decision will also help the negotiators to take on the rich nations as they believe that the government will back them. Unlike in the last couple of years, negotiation will be led by officials, not a minister.