Five years after over 150 heads of state cobbled up a rickety climate deal that fell through, the one-day UN Climate Summit is another attempt of rich nations to push India and China – responsible for one-third of total carbon emissions in 2013 – to accept some strong measures to check global warming.
But the two Asian giants are not willing to take the bait unless the developed world anchored by the United States and the European Union offers substantial incentives to developing nations for adopting a cleaner growth trajectory, cutting down on emissions.
The rich nations’ commitment to provide US $30 billion between 2010 and 2012 for climate mitigation and adaptation is yet to fructify, resulting in the Green Climate Fund remaining a defunct body.
Officially, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese premier Xi Jinping are not attending the summit called by UN chief Ban Ki-moon because of conflicting schedules.
But it is, in fact, a snub to the developed nations for pushing climate talks outside the United Nations framework. “It creates confusion and we don’t agree,” environment minister Prakash Javadekar, who will represent the country at the summit, said without mentioning to the event.
China has opted for a relatively senior functionary, vice-premier Zhang Gaoli, for the talks. While some island nations threatened by rising sea levels because of climate change expressed shock and disappointment, this will achieve little as India and China do not expect Obama to deliver generous green currency that would motivate emerging economies to revise their country-centric stands.
Neither the American president, nor the European leaders have the mandate to offer money at the summit like in Copenhagen, 2009.
New data shows carbon emissions in the atmosphere closing in on the threshold level to limit temperature rise by two degree Celsius, and India and China being the fastest-growing emitters, would put the two emerging economies under some pressure.