New York: India has reached out to small island states, which are the most vulnerable to climate change, to convey its sensitivity to their concerns on the issue, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has said.
The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) had asked emerging economies like India and China to take legally binding cuts on carbon emissions at the Copenhagen conference last year.
Noting that AOSIS clearly wants India and China, Brazil and South Africa to take on much more ambitious mitigation requirements, Ramesh said: "The whole idea of meeting the AOSIS group was to convey to them that we are sensitive to their concerns. We have a peninsular India in which 300 million people live in vulnerable coastal areas."
In fact, a central component of Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh`s trip to New York this week was to reach out to Small Island States on the climate issue.
"The capacity building exercise we have announced was widely welcomed by the AOSIS group and we will take it forward," Ramesh said while stressing that India is the first developing country to have published its Greenhouse Gas inventory for the year 2007.
Key elements of the Copenhagen Accord include a limit 2 degree rise of global temperature, USD 100 billion on finance in long-term finance to developing countries and USD 30 billion to short-term finance to the poorest and most vulnerable countries.
These tiny nations have contributed 0.3 per cent to global warming want a 1.5 degree Celsius limit. UN scientists have warned that if the 2 degree Celsius is allowed, then there is a very real possibility that some of these nations go under the sea.
During the Copenhagen Conference, Palau President Johnson Toribiong had urged China and India to provide technology and finances to poorer countries to combat climate change.
"Yes they should," Toribiong had told PTI, at the time, responding to whether emerging economies should take binding emission cuts.
India and China, however, firmly reject this position. As part of the new "capacity building exercise," New Delhi offered leaders of the 43 countries that gathered at the Indian mission to the United Nations a "technical partnership agreement."
"I have announced a technical partnership agreement by which India will offer two scholarships to every AOSIS country in the area of climate change, coastal zone adaptation and management," Ramesh said.
Meanwhile, the Indian Mission organised a presentation on the "pan-African e-network project" which provides e-services on tele-education and tele-medicine and VVIP connectivity by satellite and fibre optic network among Heads of State.
A preliminary idea on a similar project for AOSIS was tabled. "We want to work with them. I think it was a useful exercise. It was a good start," the Environment minister said.