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Pachauri questions UN’s green report

“What we should be doing is sustainable development for local reasons, not because of global commitments,” reports Chetan Chauhan

india Updated: Nov 27, 2007 00:03 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times

Environment expert RK Pachauri has questioned the UN recommendation that asks developing economies like India and China to have commitments on reducing carbon emissions.

The head of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was the joint winner of the Peace Nobel, made the statement a day before the release of the UN Human Development report.

“What we should be doing is sustainable development for local reasons, not because of global commitments,” he said at a press conference, releasing the IPCC’s synthesis report in Spain on November 17.

IPCC is part of another UN body, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Asked about the United Nation’s Development Programme (UNDP) report on climate change, Pachauri said: “I can say that the recommendation is questionable. The United Nations has not prescribed any conditions for the global negotiations at Bali.”

The Bali conference of world leaders on new climate change mechanism is starting from December 3. Pacahuri’s statement could stir a hornet’s nest.

He also said the first firm step on climate change has to be taken by the developed world. “I see no reason why developing countries should accept any commitments.”

His views are similar to those of the Indian government, which wants only developing countries to show voluntary involvement in reducing carbon emissions.

The UNDP has based its recommendations on its finding that 40 per cent of the world’s poor would be the worst sufferers because of climate change. It said there is less than a decade left to take firm action.

Even Pachauri agreed that after 2015, global carbon emissions should start falling to stabilise carbon concentration in the atmosphere at 450 ppm by 2050.

Keeping the carbon level at that point would not cost much — just 0.2 per cent annual loss of GDP. Still, it would lead to 2 to 2.4°C increase in temperature, leading to a 0.4-1.4-metre sea level rise. This would pose a huge danger to island nations and low-lying areas in eastern coastal India and Bangladesh.

First Published: Nov 26, 2007 23:38 IST