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Prime Minister seeks climate change consensus

india Updated: Oct 28, 2009 15:08 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called a meeting of the National Development Council (NDC), a body comprising all the chief ministers and key cabinet ministers, to seek a national consensus on India’s position at the Copenhagen meet on climate change in December. The carbon bomb

The government has signalled that it may amend some of its positions on climate change, as developed countries are pressing for more flexibility. Opposition parties have, however, warned against any shift in stance.

India’s existing position includes a commitment that it will not allow its per capita emissions to rise above the levels of the developed world. Tough questions

India’s per capita emission of greenhouse gases is 1/20th of the US’s. It is the fourth largest polluter in the world and the US, the second.

In a note sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on October 13, environment minister Jairam Ramesh said that “a per capita plus approach is essential since the per capita approach alone is not a sustainable basis for negotiations”. A ‘per capita plus’ approach will include a law giving incentives for emission reduction and the use of renewable energy sources.

Developed countries may offer between $90 billion (about Rs 414,000 crore) and $140 billion (Rs 644,000 crore) per year to developing countries agreeing to greenhouse gas emission cuts. This money could be used for adopting clean technology. In the past four years, the sale of carbon credits to the West using clean technology in India grew from a few hundred crore of rupees to Rs 23,500 crore.

In his note to the PM, Ramesh suggested some nuanced changes in India’s negotiating positions on climate change. He said the country had been accused of being a “deal breaker” by the developed world for its stand, but now it wanted to be a “deal maker”.

Sources familiar with the developments said the government would want a political consensus before amending its position on climate change.

The BJP and the Left have opposed any changes in India’s position on climate change. “India shouldn’t accept any limit to its emission growth unless rich countries agree to pay for the same,” said CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechury.