The Durban climate agreement has buried India's reluctance to take emission cuts and has got three years to decide how much carbon emissions reductions it would be willing to take after 2020.
India has agreed to reduce its emission intensity by 20-25 % of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2020 in business to usual scenario and Durban platform, the term of the agreement, is a step forward. The impact of emission cuts on India's economic and how it makes life costlier for an average citizen will be an issue of debate in the coming years.
The new emission reduction regime will be decided on basis of equity, which could mean much lower emission reduction for India as compared to China, whose per capita global warming causing carbon release is almost double of India's.
"It is clear from this conference that the fight to reduce emissions effectively in an unequal world will be even more difficult in the years to come. But it is a conference, which has put the issue of equity back into the negotiations. It is for this reason an important move ahead," said Sunita Narain, Director General of NGO Centre for Science and Environment.
But, the next three years -- till 2015 -- are crucial as during this period country wise emission reductions will be decided based on review of the pledges of the rich nations, voluntary mitigation action of the developing world and of fifth assessment report of UN's scientific body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The Durban platform fits well for rich nations have been demanding ---- common but differentiated responsibility with respective capabilities, enshrined in the United Nations climate convention. The European media has hailed the conference outcome as major victory for European Union, which on Monday had proposed a timeline based roadmap to operationalise binding climate treaty by 2020.
India and China were able to get long term finance to adapt to climate change, transfer and development of clean technologies in Durban outcome but failed to get a legally forceable treaty beyond 2020. The United States came on board as transparency of climate actions and it has emission reductions for all countries was included.
India, China and United States were under immense pressure to accept the European Union roadmap as the poor nations including Bangladesh and Maldives backed the roadmap. There was also division in the biggest group of 132 nations in the UN climate conference of G-77 plus China with African island and least developed nations supporting the EU proposal.
The outcome means that India has abandoned its stand of not agreeing to emission cuts till its per capita emissions rise above average per capita emissions of the developed world. As per modelling studies, India's per capita emissions will be less than that of rich nations even in 2030.
The found of the new approach will be laid dow in the 12th five-year plan, which would start from the next financial year.