India says affluent nations must pay up, labelled ‘obstructionist’

  • Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, Paris
  • Updated: Dec 02, 2015 13:13 IST
From left: Microsoft founcer Bill Gates, US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the climate change summit in Paris. (PTI)

India was labelled “obstructionist” by rich nations at the Paris climate talks on Tuesday after it joined a chorus from a group of developing countries saying a likely global deal must produce a clear climate finance road map and ensure affluent nations bear a heavier burden.

China made a statement on behalf of the BASIC bloc, also comprising Brazil, South Africa and India, saying the climate agreement must draw a line between rich and less-privileged nations on the issues of climate abatement, adaptation and technology transfer and the deal must be “inclusive, comprehensive and durable”.

The declaration made at the plenary also expressed concern over the missing mitigation ambition in the pre-2020 emission reduction commitments of rich nations.

The statement came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised at the conference that India will not agree to a deal without a clear differentiation in responsibilities and action between rich and developing nations in all aspects, such as mitigation, adaptation and transparency.

Implications of the PM’s strong stand were visible on Tuesday with negotiators from the developed world describing India as “obstructionist”, especially on the contentious issue of review mechanism of every country’s climate action plan for 2030 and the future of differentiation enshrined in a 1992 convention.

Tensions emerged a day after a conciliatory note by heads of states at the high-level summit, with negotiators being told by conference president and French foreign minister Fabius Laurent to wind up talks and submit a draft of the agreement for discussion by ministers on Saturday.

Indian negotiator Ajay Mathur explained that the talks on the pre-2020 commitment of the rich nations had got lost in the din and BASIC countries want it back in focus at the agreement.

“It appears they (the rich nations) have forgotten about their pre-2020 commitment,” he said.

Members of civil society like Sunita Narain, director general of the non-profit Centre for Science and Environment, welcomed the Prime Minister defining equity in terms of “fair distribution” of the remaining carbon space.

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