This blog is to discuss about environmental problems faced by planet earth.(the views expressed are personal views of the author)
Sunday, July 19, 2009
India will not take on emission cut targets, Jairam tells Hillary
Environment minister Jairam Ramesh asserted on Sunday in the presence of visiting US secretary of state Hillary Clinton that Indiawould never take legally binding commitments to cut down on emissions.
"India's position is clear and categorical that we are simply not in a position to take any legally binding emissions reductions," Ramesh said at conference on climate change he addressed along with the visiting secretary of state to mark the opening of ITC's Green Centre building in Gurgaon.
His remarks came against the backdrop of growing pressure on India and China from the US-led bloc of developed countries to take quantifiable targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh alluded to the growing US-led insistence that India relent on its stand not to accept targets.
Ramesh drew the red lines clearly. "There is simply no case for the pressure that we, who have been among the lowest emitters per capita, face to actually reduce emissions. And as if this pressure was not enough, we also face the threat of carbon tariffs on our exports to countries such as yours."
Clinton defused what could have been an airing of differences between US and India when she said the US would do nothing to limit India's economic growth. "The US does not and will not do anything that will limit India's economic progress. We believe that economic progress in India is in everyone's interest and not just in the interest of Indians," Clinton said.
But despite her efforts to sound accommodative of India's development concerns, Ramesh's speech made it clear that climate change was emerging as a hot button issue on the bilateral agenda in the run-up to the UN-sponsored Copenhagen summit on the global challenge scheduled for December.
In fact, Clinton, while acknowledging US's responsibility as the biggest historic emitter of greenhouse gases, also spoke of across-the-board responsibility for tackling climate change. "To lift people out of poverty and to give every child born in India a chance to live upto his or her given potential is a goal that we share with you. But we also believe that there is a way to eradicate poverty and develop sustainably that will lower significantly the carbon footprint of the energy that is produced and consumed to fuel that growth," she said.
"The US and India can devise a plan that will dramatically change the way we produce, consume and conserve energy," Clinton stressed.
Ramesh tried to counter the view that India was fighting shy of taking measures to arrest climate change. After the conference, he said, "It is not true to say that India is running away from mitigation (efforts). India has been saying that its primary focus will be adaptation but there are specific areas where we are already in a policy framework that envisages mitigation which means actual reduction of emission."
No breakthroughs are expected during Clinton's official engagements beginning on Monday, this essentially being atripwhere she is trying to do a couple of things -- to set out an agenda for future US-India ties, cutting across areas as diverse as non-proliferation and education, agriculture and civil nuclear energy, climate change and microfinance.
On Monday, Clinton is scheduled to meet the PM for lunch and thereafter meet foreign minister S M Krishna, Leader of Opposition L K Advani and Sonia Gandhi.
On the list of announcements on Monday, an end-user monitoring agreement (EUMA) is tottering after US and Indian officials failed to come to an agreement on two words, "legitimate self-defence and security". Officials expect a political push to cover the last mile, and there is expectation that will happen during the PM's meeting on Monday.
There will be a science and technology fund announcement, which is a holdover from the Bush visit of March 2006, a technology safeguards agreement on civilian space launches and an overarching strategic dialogue between Clinton and Krishna, which will also include a non-proliferation and security dialogue with US undersecretary Ellen Tauscher. India is expected to announce two nuclear sites for US companies in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, while inVienna, India and US officials get ready for talks on a reprocessing agreement.
Ultimately, Clinton's visit is a charm offensive, that seeks to recapture the magic of Bill Clinton's visit in 2000 and to say that the Obama guys are not as uninterested in India as they are made out to be, given their overriding interest in Pakistan and China, two countries India is not overly enamoured with. In fact, US special envoy on Af-Pak Richard Holbrooke will be here next week to consult with India on the latest in the Af-Pak strategy.
Clinton arrived in Delhi fromMumbaion Sunday afternoon and was received at the airport by India's ambassador to the US Meera Shankar and Gayatri Kumar, joint secretary in charge of the US in the MEA.
Speaking at the climate change conference in Gurgaon, Ramesh said the two sides had agreed on the "need of partnerships, concrete partnerships, on projects in various fields likeenergy efficiency, solar energy, biomass, energy-efficient buildings of the type that you are seeing here today".
Proposing an Indo-US Foundation for Climate Change Technology with initial kick-start contributions from both governments, Ramesh said this would catalyse private investment into the corpus as well. "The focus of this foundation should be on transformative, discontinuity technologies that will enable leap-frogging."
But Copenhagen will be a sore point between the two countries. "Both of us reiterated our commitment to arriving at an agreement at Copenhagen that takes note of the imperative of doing something quickly but also takes note of the special concerns of countries like India for continuing with their path of economic growth with the objective of poverty eradication," Ramesh said. "I think this has been a good beginning," he added.