UN targets on emission cut are flawed, says India

Hindustan Times | By, New Delhi
Nov 27, 2007 11:55 PM IST

A UN report setting emission cut targets for developed and developing countries draws flak from India, reports Chetan Chauhan.

A United Nations report setting emission cut targets for developed and developing countries was trashed by the Planning Commission’s Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia. He called it “fundamentally misconceived” and not based on “equity.”

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Within minutes of this sharp criticism, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) officials distanced themselves from the report. Maxie Olson, UNDP’s representative in India, said, “It is a scientific work for discussion purpose.”

The Human Development Report 2007 says South Asia, including the Gangetic plains, will suffer the most due to climate change — flooding, temperature variations will adversely affect agriculture and thereby push more and more people below the poverty line. For India, the report has not fared well, with its position falling by two ranks to 128 in the Human Development Index. “Human progress in other countries have been faster than in India, where progress has been steady in the last 30 years,” said Olson.

Ahluwalia said the stipulations in the report — of developed countries reducing emissions by 80 per cent and developing countries by 20 per cent by 2050 — looked egalitarian but, in fact, it was not. “If we consider per capita emissions, countries like India will have to bear bigger burden as per the UNDP recommendation. I would not call it fair,” he said. Instead, he said, developing countries should be allowed to increase their per capita emission and developed world should reduce it. He cited that in US per capita emission is 20 tonnes whereas in India, it is less than one.

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    Chetan Chauhan is National Affairs Editor. A journalist for over two decades, he has written extensively on social sector and politics with special focus on environment and political economy.

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