Friday, September 4, 2009

G-20 demands emission cuts from India

The G-20 finance ministers' meet has become the new forum for cornering India and other developing countries into taking climate change commitments. An overview paper distributed by the G-20 secretariat has ignored India's submissions and demanded that the latter impose carbon taxation and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by `deviating significantly from business as usual' scenario.

The document, while putting little onus on industrialised nations to provide substantial funding to developing and poor countries, has recommended steps that would break the existing UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and hurt India's economic growth, the government has contended.

The overview paper has been provided by the G-20 secretariat as a base for a report that the member countries' finance ministers are expected to agree to before the crucial final round of negotiations under the UNFCCC in December.

The G-20 climate change finance report originates out of the controversial Major Economies Forum statement that India signed on to recently in Italy. Signing the statement, India had significantly deviated from its `non-negotiable' positions on climate change negotiations. Later, at the UN meet held in August in Bonn, India had to fight hard to keep the Italy declaration from influencing the formal negotiations.

The G-20 has yet again opened a front against developing countries outside the UN process, with the industrialised countries hoping to achieve here what they have been unable to so far in the more democratic UNFCCC.

But unlike the case at Italy, the Indian government has strongly opposed provisions in the G-20 document that stand contrary to its positions.

The G-20 secretariat had earlier sent three base documents to the member countries that were prepared without any consultation with Indian and most other developing world officials. The base documents contained several proposals and recommendations that India has for years successfully opposed at the UN climate negotiations. Even though India was given merely a week to reply, it strongly opposed the base documents and along with Brazil, South Africa and China, presented a more `developing country' view to be included in the G-20 report.

"Despite strong opposition from key developing countries, including India, the G-20 secretariat has sent this overview which more or less mimics the base papers we had rejected as not representative of the views and concerns of all G-20 member countries," a senior Indian official told TOI.

The government has yet again countered the latest overview document, which demands that developing countries too should take strong mitigation action, impose carbon taxes, reduce subsidies and look primarily at only market-driven solutions to climate change.

Indian officials have also noted how the G-20 document does not demand any firm commitments from the industrialised nations to provide funds to compensate for the excess carbon budget they occupy.

No comments: