PM agrees to attend climate summit

  • Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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  • Updated: Dec 06, 2009 01:44 IST

On the day Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced his decision to attend the heads of state meeting in Copenhagen on December 18, environment and forests minister Jairam Ramesh issued a letter to most of the 24 ‘sulking’ Indian climate negotiators clarifying the country’s stand for the conference starting on Monday. Taking a stand

Ramesh’s statement in Parliament on Thursday on an emission-intensity reduction of 20-25 per cent of India’s 2005 levels by 2020 and allowing verification

of domestic emission-mitigation action had caused confusion among the negotiators.

Ramesh issued a clarification after some unhappy negotiators threatened they would not go to Denmark.

“I’ve told them that the emission intensity reduction target is voluntary and not binding,” Ramesh told HT. “I’ve also said we’ll submit our domestic action under a ‘national communication’ to the UN and won’t open to international scrutiny. All of them (the negotiators) are going now.”

A negotiator, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the last-minute emission-intensity cuts, without a road map to achieve them, would weaken India’s bargaining position. “The rich countries will ask us many questions for which we’ll have no answers,” he said.

Ramesh said the Planning Commission would announce the road map for meeting the targets after the Copenhagen conference.

Singh announced his visit a day after US President Barack Obama confirmed his participation in the crucial final part of the climate summit, where 70 world leaders are meeting, raising hopes for a binding climate treaty.

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao has already said he will attend the heads of state meeting, where an agreement — political or binding — is likely to be announced.

Swift developments in the last fortnight have created the possibility of a climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires by 2012.

India, the world’s fourth-biggest carbon emitter, on Thursday announced the reduction of its emission intensity by 20-25 per cent by 2020 and said it would consider international verification of domestic mitigation action.

On Friday, the US, the second-biggest emitter, declared a unilateral $10 billion (Rs 46,000 crore) fund by 2012 for climate mitigation and adoption of green practices by the developing world, after announcing an emission-reduction target of 17 per cent of its 2005 levels by 2020.

Last week, China, the biggest carbon emitter, said it would reduce its emission intensity by 40-45 per cent by 2020.

Emission intensity is a measure of emissions per unit of GDP. It means the emissions of India and China will grow but their pace will fall.

Encouraged by the Indian and Chinese announcements, the Obama administration on Friday said “progress is being made” towards a meaningful accord after the US announced an emission-cut target.


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