India fails to save Kyoto pact in 'weak' deal
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India fails to save Kyoto pact in 'weak' deal

India has virtually agreed to death of Kyoto Protocol that protects interests of the developing countries but ensured some safeguards to achieve high economic growth and its right for sustainable development to eradicate poverty. Chetan Chauhan reports.

world Updated: Dec 12, 2010 02:12 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times

India has virtually agreed to death of Kyoto Protocol that protects interests of the developing countries but ensured some safeguards to achieve high economic growth and its right for sustainable development to eradicate poverty.

In the give-away, India has agreed for a binding commitments, international review of its domestic mitigation commitments once in two years and to have low carbon growth in the context of sustainable growth, in a proposal submitted for adoption at the Cancun climate summit of 194 nations saying new agreement will be signed in Durban, South Africa, in 2011.

"It is a balanced agreement in the spirit of constructive compromise," said Indian environment minister Jairam Ramesh at a plenary to adopt the drafts on two tracks -- long term cooperative action (LCA) to combat climate change and Kyoto Protocol. "We have worked in the spirit of give and take."

Sunita Narian, Director of NGo Centre for Science and Environment, termed the drafts as weak outcome in which India has given too much. "We (India) have given fatal concessions to the United States without getting anything in return and failed to protect interest of our poor".

In a consensus LCA draft, also being called Cancun Package, finalised after two days of hectic parleys appears to be an extension of the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, agreed by 80 countries so far and has several elements of the Kyoto Protocol, the existing climate treaty. One such is having a carbon trading mechanism, called Clean Development Mechanism in climate jargon.

The LCA draft speaks about the aim to restrict temperature rise by two degrees Celsius by 2050 without providing a formula for achieving the same. The Copenhagen Accord was emphatic about the inspiration goal to maintain temperature rise within 1.5 degrees, which finds slight reference in the Cancun Package.

The package aims at unquantified reduction in emissions by 2050, a dilution of the Copenhagen Accord and provides a mechanism on technology transfer, protecting forests and indigenous people. There is no mention of Intellectual Property Rights in the draft.

It aims at creating two green funds -- one for adaptation and another for finance -- but without any commitment from the rich nations on timeframe to give US $ 100 billion as promised in the Accord. "The money provided so far is laughable," Ramesh said.

India success and failures


Having access to sustainable development will mean that India's effort of provding basic living standards for 300 million poor is not compromised

Not having a peaking year for emissions and a bar on increasing emissions by 50 % by 2050 will protect interests of the Indian industry.

India has ensured that green trade barriers are not part of the proposed deal.

Other countries will have a right to assess quantified mitigation commitments as related to economy of the rich nations. This was despite opposition from the United States.


No commitment for extending the Kyoto Protocol.

Accepted binding commitments for India.

Agreed to international assessment of domestic mitigation actions.

As the two week long conference headed for the finale, Bolivia presented a critique of the LCA draft saying it was a "copy paste" of the accord. "It has voice only a few rich countries," said Bolivian climate negotiator Pablo Solon. However, many countries including United States, European Union, Japan and Maldives welcomed the package. Attempts were on to convince Bolivia till late in the night.

"A balanced outcome but weak for protecting climate," was the reaction of Greenpeace's Executive Director Kumi Naidoo to the proposal. Analysing the outcome of two days of negotiations, a negotiator from a developing country said. "The effort was to ensure that detractors of Kyoto Protocol Japan, Russia, Australia and Canada comes on board along with United States (a non Kyoto party)."

The second draft finalised was on the future of Kyoto Protocol. But, it failed to prescribe a date by when the second commitment period for the protocol will be done.

"The draft has created a confusion on future of Kyoto," Solon said. The LCA draft overshadowed the future of Kyoto with most countries agreeing on the basic tenements of it.

First Published: Dec 11, 2010 11:43 IST