India on Saturday said it was 'not against legally binding treaty' but will not agree to any such instrument till its implications were clear.
The statement from Indian chief climate negotiator and special secretary in environment ministry J M Mauskar came a day after China agreed for a legally binding climate treaty after 2020 in a bid to fuel the slow pace of negotiations at Durban.
The week-long climate talks at Durban has revolved around the debate over legally binding nature of future climate treaty. The European Union, small island nations and least developed countries have sought a legally binding climate instrument having varying climate mitigation actions for countries depending on their emissions.
"We are not against a legal treaty," Mauskar said and added a word of caution that just a legal treaty with weak emission reduction pledges of rich natons will not make any difference to climate mitigation.
When asked whether India was under pressure to agree to legally bindinding treaty, Mauskar retorted that there were "more rumours than rooms" in ICC (International Convention Centre) at Durban and one should not believe them.
Opposing any new process to discuss future climate treaty, India made it clear that Durban climate talks have to deliver second commitment period for existing climate treaty Kyoto Protocol and failure on the issue will severely damage the confidence of the developing countries in the international processes.
"We are deeply concerned that there has been hardly any progress on achieving this key objective of our negotiations," he said.
Talks on Kyoto Protocol are stuck and there is already a talk that it cannot be ratified before January 2013. The first commitment period of the protocol ends on December 31, 2012. Most observers say death sentence for Kyoto will be delivered in Durban.
In this backdrop, Mauskar's statement is seen as a push to save Kyoto, which allows flow of finance from rich countries to the developing world through carbon trade mechanism. In this, rich countries can meet their emission reduction targets by buying carbon credits from the developing world through a market mechanism. India has most carbon credits in the world after China.
"We need a qualititively robust outcome to the Kyoto discussions, not a pro-forma one which does not meet the aspirations of the development world," the statement read.
Amid the concern that Durban will fail to deliver, the least developed nations proposed on Friday a set of parallel treaties that will not only take into account emissions reduction targets for the rich countries but also for non-Kyoto countries like the United States and emerging economies like China and India.