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Climate change: Soft pressure on India mounts

india Updated: Nov 13, 2009 01:40 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Climate diplomacy peaked on Thursday with top leaders from Australia and France meeting Indian officials to reassure them on a host of issues. The end goal: an agreement at the Copenhagen summit next month.

US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu will be in Delhi on Friday for a similar climate discussion.

Rich countries such as the US and Australia have said a climate treaty would only be possible if India and China agree to take voluntary, but binding, emission cuts in the new protocol to be discussed at Copenhagen.

The US and Australia are not part of Kyoto Protocol, the existing climate treaty that expires in 2012.

India is not willing — yet — saying that under the United Nations convention, only rich countries are required to take
mandatory emission cuts. India has also refused to allow its domestic mitigation measures to be open to international scrutiny as demanded by several western counties.

India has instead insisted on emission growth , as its per capita carbon emission will never exceed that of the average of rich countries. India’s per capita carbon emission is 1.2 tonne per year, less than seven times of what the US emits.

Offering an investment of around $ 71 million (Rs 3.3 billion) in research for developing clean technologies, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said “collaboration partnership is what is needed if the nations of the world are to bring real results on climate change”.

Of this, $50 million (Rs 2.3 billion) will go towards the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund; $1 million (Rs 47 million) for an innovative Australia-India solar cooling research project and $20 million (Rs 934 million) for research into dry land farming in India over five years.

“An estimated 400 million Indians don’t have access to electricity, while the lack of cold storage leads to the spoilage of an estimated 20 million tonne of fruit and vegetables annually,” Rudd said.

Rudd met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the evening. Australia has proposed a single agreement, with binding emission cuts for rich and advanced developing nations and no emission cuts for the least developed countries. India has not agreed to it.