India flexible, but will not cut carbon emissions | india | Hindustan Times
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India flexible, but will not cut carbon emissions

In line with its promise that it would not be a deal-breaker, India on Sunday narrowed the gap over climate-change talks to three of 46 points — but in agreement only with other developing countries, report Chetan Chauhan and Samar Halarnkar.

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india Updated: Dec 14, 2009 02:11 IST

In line with its promise that it would not be a deal-breaker, India on Sunday narrowed the gap over climate-change talks to three of 46 points — but in agreement only with other developing countries.

Europe and US
• Europe says it won’t sign any agreement unless the US joins and accepts legally binding emission cuts
• The US has said it will not take any legally binding agreement under the Kyoto Protocol, which runs out in 2012
• US wants a new protocol, a move resisted by India, China and other developing countries, except small island nations

US, China and India
• The US will agree to emission cuts only if China does.
• China refuses, without US money, which the US refuses
• India and China argued on Saturday for 30 minutes over responsibilities

G-77 and small island nations
• G-77 wants all small island countries — most at risk from warming — to stick to the existing Kyoto Protocol
• The islanders want India, China, Brazil and South Africa to cut emissions or sign a new treaty.

A day before a crucial second week of negotiations begins, and a day after 196 nations at the climate summit were split along rich and poor lines over a contentious United Nations proposal on Long-Term Cooperation (LCA), Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said the draft could be a road map.

It’s a roadmap developed countries refuted strongly on Saturday, as did the world’s small island nations, who are most at risk from global warming.

Meanwhile, Kirit Parik, leading Indian economist and the creator of India’s energy policy — on which the Planning Commision based the energy reductions that Ramesh has brought to the negotiating table — told the Hindustan Times there was “no point in sticking to the idea that there should be no emission cuts for developing nations”.

Like most developing countries in the G-77 group and China, India said it would not accept three points in the LCA draft: defining a “peaking year”—after which greenhouse gas emissions must decline; emission cuts for all nations, rich and poor, so global temperatures do not rise beyond 2 deg C by 2050; and international verification of domestic mitigation action.

Developed countries say the draft, introduced on Thursday and followed by a plenary on Friday, does not oblige the developing world to fight climate change. They say it is time to move beyond the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, something the poorer countries refused to do on Saturday.

“The LCA draft has 46 paras, we don’t agree at all with three and can negotiate on another three,” Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh told reporters in Copenhagen on Saturday.

With this, differences that emerged last week between Brazil, South Africa India, and China, Brazil (called the BASIC countries) and African and island nations appeared partially papered over.

“It (the LCA proposal) has been prepared in agreement with the African block,” Ramesh said.

India is now ready for “domestic verification” of its mitigation actions along UN guidelines, which have yet to be finalised. “Our domestic actions will be provided to UN once in two years only as information and not verification,” said Ramesh, acknowledging that hopes of an agreement in Copenhagen were bleak.

Parikh has said that he sees Copenhagen as “just the start of the negotiation process”, and real progress will need greater concessions from all sides.

“I would like to see deep cuts from the West, strong action to allow developing countries to transition (to a low-carbon economy) and for developing countries to start thinking of cuts,” said Parikh, who has advised five former Prime Ministers and is chairman of the Integrated Research and Action for Development (IRADe), a New Delhi think tank that boasts Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on its governing council.

“It doesn’t make sense that developing countries should have exemptions for ever,” said Parikh. “Then there will be no incentive to reduce emissions.”

Thus far, the developing world is standing firm on the Kyoto Protocol, which mandated cuts for the rich only: global emissions have risen 30 per cent since then. Ramesh blamed differences between the developed countries for lack of progress at Copenhagen and said the West must be blamed.

“Europe and Japan have refused to sign any agreement on strong emission cuts without the US on board. The US has refused to be part of Kyoto,” Ramesh said. “India will not accept anything other than Kyoto and wants an agreement.”

India has also rejected an Australian proposal that head of the states and ministers should decided the final text for a political statement to be made on December 18, a day after countries announce their domestic climate plans.