Europe may find itself isolated at a meeting of Major Economies Forum in Washington this week with India and United States being on the same page on opposing the legally binding climate treaty.
The forum will be discussing the future of the existing climate treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, and the ambit of the proposed new climate treaty under long term cooperative action to fight climate change.
The European Union has sought that the second commitment period of the protocol, starting from 2013, should have legally binding emission reduction targets for all nations, which India and United States have opposed.
The EU has proposed that after 2020 there should be a mandatory emission reduction targets for all countries including developing nations such as India and China. Between 2013 and 2020, the countries will have to commit on their voluntary climate change actions without any conditions.
India has declared to reduce its emission intensity by 20-25% of its 2005 levels by 2020 with a condition that rich nations would provide money and transfer clean technology to meet the target. So far, rich nations have been dithering on funding the clean technology transfer mechanism and providing finance to the developed world to fight climate change.
But China has taken a slightly different line by agreeing to make its voluntary action of checking growth of its emissions as a binding requirement under the climate change treaty.
“India and China are not comparable,” said a senior environment ministry official. “China’s emissions are five times more than that of India and economically also they are much ahead”.
But, India has found some support from the United States, which believes that a pledge to reduce emissions is a commitment and it should not be backed through a legal instrument.
Climate experts, however, say the issue of legally binding climate treaty would be a thorny issue at the meeting of 17 most powerful economies in the world in Washington. They also claim that the European Union has been shifting its goalpost on supporting the second commitment period for Kyoto Protocol, which could be a major reason for the failure of climate talks in Durban, South Africa, later this month.