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India, China resist rich nations at Copenhagen meet

Leading the developing countries in rejecting a leaked Danish proposal seeking to tilt global climate change negotiations in favour of the rich countries, India and China signaled to the United Nations climate conference that no deal is better than a bad deal, reports Chetan Chauhan.See special

india Updated: Dec 10, 2009 10:20 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Leading the developing countries in rejecting a leaked Danish proposal seeking to tilt global climate change negotiations in favour of the rich countries, India and China signaled to the United Nations climate conference that no deal is better than a bad deal.

The Danish proposal, which hasn’t been made public yet, undermined the principle that rich countries will undertake more responsibilities than the poorer ones and proposed to make the heads of state decide the final outcome of the conference on December 18.

The report was leaked to the media on Wednesday.

India and China responded jointly at what is perceived to have the support of all the rich countries, including the United States. G-77, a bloc of developing countries, overcame their internal differences on various issues to reject the Dutch move.

“We don’t want any surprises at the last moment,” said Shyam Sharan, the Prime Minister’s special envoy on climate change. “Consensus has to be reached before December 18. The head of states should adopt what negotiators decide.”

While insisting the principle of ‘differentiated responsibility’ (richer nations should do more) is non-negotiable, India and China have decided to push for a more substantive outcome.

They have agreed to negotiate basically three options before the heads of state meet on December 18 :

1. framework for a legally binding document, 2. a political statement, 3. mix of an agreement on issues of consensus and a political statement on contentious subjects, with an agreed deadline for a binding agreement.

A legally binding agreement looks difficult with the US declaring on Wednesday that it is opposed to another “Kyoto type” agreement.

“It has not worked well,” said US chief negotiator Tord Stern. “We need significant action by major developing countries for climate mitigation.”

The US also wants international verification of voluntary, self-financed, mitigation measures — unacceptable to India and China.

“The third option is the one most likely to be adopted,” said an Indian negotiator, who participated in a bilateral with China on Tuesday.

In this option, India and China are looking at an agreement on financing by the rich countries with a political statement on their willingness to cut carbon emissions by 2020.

These options are an outcome of the China-India move to oppose the Danish proposal.

India and China also decided to “improve upon” their proposal in response to an earlier Danish proposal.

The G-77 countries had demanded some changes in what came to be called the BASIC proposal, as it has been introduced by Brazil, South Africa, India and China.

“The BASIC proposal has put forth meaningful demand on behalf of the developing world and has helped oppose the Danish proposal,” said G-77 spokesperson Lumumba-Stantslaus Dl-Aping.

“We want some more detailing in the proposal, which is being discussed.”

The draft of the BASIC proposal was given to the G-77 countries on December 5.