After describing India as a “major challenge” for climate talks, US Secretary for State John Kerry appreciated the work being done by the Indian delegation in Paris after an hour long meeting with environment minister Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday night.
“The meeting was positive and constructive and we are working hard,” Kerry said, after his first bilateral meeting. Kerry had a dinner meeting with conference president Laurent Fabius later.
Javadekar also expressed similar appreciation saying both sides exchanged views on a large number of issues hovering climate talks. “We heard each other and decided to talk further,” the Indian minister said.
He said that Kerry has come to discuss how they can arrive at “just” and “ambitious” agreement in Paris and added that this was part of several bilateral meetings he had with environment ministers on Tuesday.
Kerry and Javadekar had earlier entered into a verbal duel over India’s stand for climate talks. Kerry had identified India as a challenge whereas Javadekar had termed his statement as “unfortunate”.
The Tuesday night meeting was Kerry’s first bilateral and was seen as an attempt of US to diffuse tension between the two sides. Sources said the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama had not gone down well on climate issues as the US was seeking a joint statement to which India did not agree.
The United States wants developing countries to agree to a universal review and verification mechanism for all countries on climate action plans whereas India has agreed only for stock-taking of the plans submitted by every country called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions.
While India wants that all elements of Paris agreement to be binding, the US is seeking binding element only for review and verification. US climate negotiator Todd Stern had clearly said no for binding obligation on mitigation targets. US had pledged to reduce its emissions by 26-28 % by 2030 of 2005 level.
Javadekar said there was “no compromise” on any of the climate issues and added that more such meetings can take place in the next 72 hours. Apart from senior environment ministry officials, External Affairs Ministry’s senior official Sujata Mehta was also present at the meeting.