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Saturday, November 21, 2009

India clears weather ahead of Copenhagen climate summit

19 Nov 2009

NEW DELHI: With a political statement on the anvil in Copenhagen, India put forward its contribution to the mitigation strategy in dealing with climate change.

While indicating that it was willing to be “part of a solution” , New Delhi has reiterated that developed countries will have to take on binding targets.

While acknowledging that India could be a big polluter considering its large population and growing economy, New Delhi has said it would ensure that its per capita emissions never exceed that of developed countries.

“India’s per capita emissions are now around 1.2 tonnes of CO2 equivalent and are expected to be around 2-2 .5 tonnes by 2020 and 3-3 .5 tonnes by 2030. The per capita limit is an onerous binding that India has imposed on itself,” said Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.

The only concession that India was willing to make was on submitting a national communication on climate change actions and their impact on emissions every two years. In keeping with the offer first made in September by the minister , India has suggested that the national communication could be used as a basis for international consultations.

“This will more than meet the demand for internationalisation of domestic commitments and obligations taken on unilaterally. The format of reporting could be decided by the UNFCCC after discussions and consensus among parties,” Mr Ramesh submitted.

The government could find it difficult to sell this line to the domestic audience as a section has been seeing it as the first step towards accepting international monitoring of establishments funded with domestic resources. But the government leadership has been arguing that national communication and per capita emission limits will help the country counter pressure from the developed world to accept legally binding emission limits.

Another plank of India’s mitigation strategy is the proposal to convert some of the nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMA) into nationally accountable mitigation outcomes (NAMO).

This will be undertaken both through executive or legislative action. This effort would mean indicating specific performance targets in industry, energy, transport, agriculture, buildings and forestry for 2020 and 2030.

These actions will be derived from the National Action Plan on Climate Change and Eleventh Plan document. As early as September, Mr Ramesh had announced that the government was considering bringing a legislation that would broadly indicate targets. There is no forward movement on this as there was political opposition to the proposal.

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