India is expected to decide within a fortnight if it’ll ratify the accord reached at the last month’s climate change summit in Copenhagen.
The cabinet will take a call on agreement before the environment ministers of the Basic countries — India, China, Brazil and South Africa — meet in Delhi on January 24 to draw strategy for year-long negotiations. A new agreement is to be signed in Mexico in December.
All the 193 countries that attended the summit have to inform the UN by January 31 if they will sign the accord.
The deal was primarily an agreement between the US, European Union and Basic countries, but the conference decided to take note of it.
Only Maldives, Canada, Australia and Papua New Guinea have responded positively, while Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia haven’t rejected it. The EU and Britain are expected to inform the UN by next week.
With most rich countries willing to go with it, pressure is mounting on India to do the same. Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh is now expected to seek the cabinet’s view on the summit outcome.
“The accord has many new elements which need the government’s approval, if we have to sign it,” said a ministry official on condition of anonymity.
Though the accord is non-binding, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon wants it to be binding.
“We have agreed to the accord because it’s non-binding,” Ramesh had said at Copenhagen. Recently, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said no one was satisfied with the summit outcome.
With Ban writing to the governments, India may have to rethink. The UN chief on Tuesday termed a binding treaty as important “to-do” for the world body in 2010.
There is an increasing concern that a binding accord will be the death of Kyoto Protocol, the existing climate treaty that has differentiated responsibility on climate mitigation for the rich and the developing worlds.
India had more to loss than gain from the accord, said Sunita Narian, director of Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment. “There is no money or technology... But, it makes India to commit on domestic mitigation actions.” It doesn’t provide for equitable burden-sharing, the mainstay of India’s stance, she said.