The European Union has decided on a roadmap to phase out fossil fuels subsidies in the new climate agreement, to be readied by 2015 in Qatar, where water costs more than a litre of petrol.
It is ironic that Qatar, which has the world’s highest per capita carbon emission, is not a signatory to the Cancun pledges for reducing emissions and give huge fossil fuel subsidies, happens to be hosting the conference of around 200 countries.
It was in this context that EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard wanted the inclusion of a plan to phase out first subsidies and then fossil fuels, the biggest contributor to climate change, in the new agreement — to be framed by an ad-hoc committee on the Durban platform.
India and China, which oppose the plan, claim it is not feasible unless richer countries give a financial commitment on the phase-out plan in the developing world.
India, China, Brazil and South Africa made it clear on Tuesday that they will not agree on a discussion about key emerging sectors — upscale use of renewable energy sources, efficiency in domestic transport and production methods, low carbon economy and controlling farm emissions — without a specific commitment on the provision of funds till 2020.
The issue came up when the group of island nations proposed a specific agenda of items to be discussed under the Durban platform from next year. The proposal also said that the countries would have to make their submissions by March 15, 2013.
The Union cabinet did not give India’s climate negotiating team the mandate to finalise agenda items, and only agreed on a plan to decide the items for the agenda in the coming year.