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Termed deal-breaker, India takes on rich nations

Environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan took on Canada and small island nations yesterday night for terming India as a 'deal breaker' at climate summit and said "legally binding" cannot be confused with "ambition".

world Updated: Dec 10, 2011 09:42 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan took on Canada and small island nations on Friday night for terming India as a 'deal breaker' at climate summit and said "legally binding" cannot be confused with "ambition".

"It would be helpful if we do not talk at each other and do not prejudge each other," she said at a late night meeting with ministers representing different groups at the climate conference in the port city of Durban.

The negotiations continued till late Saturday morning with an effort to find a compromise on eight points of the text emerging from the green room, known as Ibadha.

European Union negotiators said the agreement was possible on with operatonalising the new climate treaty after ratification by each country after 2020. Indian negotiators, however, said "wait and watch"

India had been branded as a "deal-breaker" at Durban for not agreeing to legally binding but got some support of other Basic group --- China, Brazil and South Africa -- at a late night green room meeting.

"We cannot allow another process (European Union's roadmap on binding treaty by 2015) to start," said a senior South African negotiator admitting that there was overwhelming support for a having a climate treaty by 2015.

Natarajan's speech received with thumping of desks pointed out that there was an attempt to junk the climate protocol, Kyoto Protocol, agreed 14 years ago in a cavaliar manner.

"Countries which had signed and ratified it are walking away without even a polite goodbye. And yet, pointing at others," she said while referring to remarks by Canada that India was blocking an agreement on a roadmap to sign a new climate treaty by 2015.

Admitting that position of India and island nations may be different on climate issues but their concerns were same. Over 600 island in India may get submerged because of climate change just like some island nations.

"We are absolutely at the forefront of the vulnerability of climate change," she said.

A negotiator of island nation, however, said they will stick to their stand of seeking a legally binding climate treaty for all nations by 2015.

Seeking equity and common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR) at part of Durban climate deal was not unreasonble, she said, India was asking for "review of actions of the developed countries" so that an ambitious climate deal can be struck.

"I too raise my voice for urgency," she said.

She asked whether any country had made a commitment like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had made on climate change. That was India's per capita emissions will never rise above that of the developed world.

Natarajan pointed out three flaws in the Durban declaration texts.

First was no emission reduction target for developed countries signatories of the Kyoto Protocol, second no time for ratification of the second commitment period of the protocol and no indication of how the gap in the implementation will be avoided.

"My biggest concern with reference to the texts is that there is no reference to the fundamental principle of equity and CBDR," she said.

She also sought urgent implementation of the Bali Action Plan of 2007 and operationalisation of Cancun Agreements of 2009.

"We should have an ambitious implementation phase till 2013 and then go to the Review in 2013-15 to make an assessment based on science and commitments," she said.