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India seeks legally binding commitments for rich nations

world Updated: Dec 15, 2009 15:13 IST
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With hopes for a far-reaching deal on climate change receding, India is making a strong pitch for extending the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012 and commitments that legally bind developed countries to reduce emissions.

The crucial talks at the climate change summit were suspended briefly on Monday following a walkout by the BASIC bloc, including India and China, protesting that the rich countries were making attempts to shirk responsibility in tackling global warming. The Africa also group boycotted the proceedings briefly.

The talks resumed after the BASIC bloc succeeded in extracting an assurance from the Chair that the summit would proceed in a "fully transparent" manner without any "surprises".

Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh made it clear that the goal now is to produce two texts under the Long Term Cooperative Action (LCA) track and KP tracks by Wednesday or Thursday morning.

The BASIC bloc and Africa want the developed countries to make mitigation pledges under the second commitment period from 2013-2018 but the European Union, Australia, Japan, Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) want a document broader than the existing Protocol that puts obligations on the United States and on emerging economies.

The second track is the extension of the KP into the second commitment period from 2013 to 2018 where developed countries listed under Annex B will have to take binding cuts. The US, however, is not a party to the Protocol.

However, there is lack of clarity on this point as Hedegaard told BASIC ministers and the G77 chairs that there will be no Copenhagen declaration or political statement.

"There is still no clarity," Ramesh said.

Noting that there was a great deal of confusion on the several aspects of the negotiations, he said, "It is not clear how the US will reflect its commitments given the uncertainty on their legislation".

Meanwhile, Ramesh reiterated that the integrated Africa-BASIC (ABASIC) draft was ready in the wings and warned that if any of the other groups sprang a surprise draft like the Danish text then the G77 countries would put out this text.

"We are holding it... If there is a 'Danish' we will produce ABASIC," he said.

Delegates from 192 countries have been for a week attempting to hammer out a climate change texts before the heads of state/government from over a 100 countries including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama arrive later this week.