Climate change: India satisfied with joint statement

Praful Bidwai on joint Indo-US statement on climate change

26 November 2009
Aarti Dhar

 India on Wednesday expressed satisfaction with the joint Indo-U.S. statement, particularly the portion on climate change, which “represents an increased degree of congruence” in the way the two countries approach the challenge.

 India on Wednesday expressed satisfaction with the joint Indo-U.S. statement, particularly the portion on climate change, which “represents an increased degree of congruence” in the way the two countries approach the challenge.

According to an official spokesperson, the Prime Minister’s visit to the U.S. also laid the foundation for a significant and focussed collaborative effort both on clean energy and climate change. On the Copenhagen process, the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Bali Action Plan as the basis for deliberations at the Conference of Parties next month.

Describing it as an important political statement, the spokesperson said these two documents represent an indispensable basis for negotiations. There is also a clear commitment to a comprehensive and substantive outcome at Copenhagen.

The statement recognises the key principle of common and differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities enshrined in the UNFCCC. In accordance with that principle, the joint statement commits developed countries such as the U.S. to take on economy-wide emission reduction targets, while developing countries should take mitigation actions which are specific in nature such as India’s renewal energy plan or afforestation target.

“We have always said that as an open and democratic society India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change will be implemented in a transparent manner, with domestic scrutiny including in Parliament,” the spokesperson said. For mitigation actions that are supported by finance, technology and capacity building there can be international scrutiny of both actions and support. “For unsupported actions we are willing to reflect these to the UNFCCC through national communications.” These are the “processes” for ensuring transparency.

India believes that there is recognition in the joint statement of the need for substantially scaled-up financial resources to support climate change action in developing countries. India has been repeatedly emphasising this as one of the key determinants of success at Copenhagen. “We are also happy that India’s proposal for the setting up of a network of climate innovation centres has found reflection in the statement,” the spokesperson said.

Sunita Narain, Director of the Centre for Science and Environment, said the statement was in line with the Indian position. There was a lot of pressure from the U.S. on India, China, Brazil and South Africa to change their position on climate change, but India seems to have made its position clear which is reflected in the statement, she told The Hindu.

Columnist Praful Bidwai said the statement, more or less, reiterated Indias well known position on climate change but the portion on mitigation actions based on respective capabilities left some room for interpretation as it took away the mandate of the Kyoto Protocol and the Bali Action Plan.

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