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India to sharpen focus on climate

india Updated: Nov 18, 2009 02:26 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet his climate change negotiators before he takes off on Saturday for a bilateral visit to the US where he is expected to discuss with US President Barack Obama the coming Copenhagen summit.

India needs to firm up its position on climate change, free from confusing nuances.

<b1>Environment minister Jairam Ramesh, in a note to Singh in October, called for a “naunced change” in India’s stated position — to turn it into a dealmaker from a deal breaker.

The PM’s special envoy on climate change, Shyam Saran, has said India’s is not altering its stand, and it should not.
India wants the richer countries to take a bigger responsibility for cutting carbon emissions through transfer of clean technology and funds to developing countries. It’s a stand shared by China and all developing countries.

Ramesh wants India to do its own thing — cut emissions, set targets — and not wait for richer countries. Both Ramesh and Saran could not be contacted as they are abroad.

Though no agreement is expected at the Copenhagen summit on climate change on December 7, a political statement is on the card. And India will have to go there with a clear line.

The differing lines taken in Delhi created problems for Indian negotiators during climate negotiations at Bangkok and Barcelona.

“US negotiators asked us about the minister’s (Ramesh) interview to a US newspaper, that India was willing to reduce emissions,” said an Indian negotiator requesting anonymity.

Recognising the problems a change in stand can pose for India in Copenhagen, RK Pachauri, chief of intergovernmental panel on climate change, believes there is no need for India to make such indication.

“India should stick to its stand till rich countries like US declare their commitment to fight climate change,” he told Hindustan Times on Tuesday.