India welcomes declaration on climate change at G8

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10 July 2009

India has termed the declaration at the G8 summit on climate change “positive and forward looking". Developing countries wanted the G8 to acknowledge the principle common but differentiated responsibility and facilitate transfer of low-carbon technologies.

N. Ravi

L’Aquila, Italy: India considers the declaration on climate change in the agreed draft at the Major Economies Forum a “very strong political message” that would provide impetus to the negotiations on climate change before the Copenhagen summit in December.

Indian PM Manmohan Singh with US President Barack Obama at the G8 Summit in Italy/ Photo credit: Top News

The Prime Minister’s special envoy on climate change, Shyam Saran, said at a briefing on the sidelines of the G8 and G5 meetings that the declaration was positive and forward looking and would send the right kind of message, though the specifics would have to be negotiated under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change leading to the Copenhagen summit.

Outlining the perspectives of the G5 developing countries, including India, he said that while climate change was a global challenge, there was an aspect of historical responsibility of the industrial countries for the accumulated emissions in the atmosphere.

On the principle of “polluter pays,” the major responsibility lay with the industrial nations, and this was a responsibility that they had acknowledged and undertaken under the UNFCCC.

The developing countries wanted the industrial nations to commit themselves to sharp and significant reductions in emissions by 40% below the 1990 (the date of the Kyoto protocol) levels by 2020. This could form the basis for a more ambitious target over the longer term.

The developing nations were faced with the problem of adaptation to climate change and India itself was spending 2 to 2.5% of its Gross Domestic Product on adaptation, including to extreme climatic events and disasters and the impact on agriculture.

Even if emissions were reduced to zero, the accumulated emissions would continue to impose a long-term burden on the developing countries.

Based on this perspective, the developing countries have been emphasising the two pillars of financing mitigation and adaptation actions and the transfer of technology.

The position of the G5 was that there should be predictable, stable and adequate resources available for a credible response from the developing countries and the industrial nations could provide 0.5% to 1% of their GDP for the purpose.

The G5 also wanted the existing climate-friendly technologies to be diffused rapidly and widely.

In addition, they wanted a global programme for capacity building to combat climate change put in place.

Transformational technologies, including on clean energy and new and renewable sources, needed to be developed and provided.

It was with these goals that India, in association with the United Nations, was organising a conference in New Delhi in October on the development and transfer of technology for climate change.

The Green Fund proposed by Mexico and endorsed by both the G5 and the G8, involved contributions by all nations assessed on the basis of their historical responsibility, current level of development and weighted per capita emissions.

From the Indian viewpoint, the principle of assessed contribution would be welcome as it would provide stable resources.

As regards the binding reduction targets for India and the other developing countries that have so far been exempt from such commitments, India was already committed to the goal of sustainable development, and there has to be a deviation from the business as usual path of growth.

However, without clarity on capacity building, funding and technology transfer for climate friendly technologies, India and the other developing countries were unable to give binding commitments on emission reduction targets.

However, they were committed to the overall goal of keeping the rise in average global temperature to below 2 degrees over the pre-industrialisation levels.

Source : The Hindu


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