New Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Thursday that the world's poor nations will not sacrifice their development in negotiations for a new climate change deal.
The issue of how to share the burden of fighting global warming has divided the developing and industrialised worlds as they prepare to negotiate a replacement to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol at a December summit in Copenhagen.
"Developing countries cannot and will not compromise on development," Singh told an international conference on technology and climate change.
However, even poorer countries need to "do our bit to keep our emissions footprint within levels that are sustainable and equitable," he said.
Developing countries argue that the industrial world produced most of the heat-trapping greenhouse gases and should bear the costs of fixing the problem. Wealthy nations say all countries — including growing polluters India and China — have to agree to broad cuts in emissions.
India and China agreed on Wednesday to stand together on climate change issues at the Copenhagen meeting. The two nations agreed to work on slowing the growth of greenhouse gas emissions, but resisted making those limits binding and subject to international monitoring.
Developing countries want financial aid for their climate change efforts, and Singh said wealthy nations have an obligation to ensure they get access to new, clean technology that will cut emissions and increase energy efficiency.
"We need technology solutions that are appropriate, affordable and effective," he said.
UN climate chief Yvo de Boer said any agreement at Copenhagen would need to include ambitious emissions cuts for industrialised countries, limit the growth of emissions from developing nations and give significant financial support to help poor nations comply with the targets.
"We have very little time remaining," he said.
Scientists say warming weather will lead to widespread drought, floods, higher sea levels and worsening storms.
Even a 3.6-degree-Fahrenheit (2-degree-Celsius) temperature rise could subject up to 2 billion people to water shortages by 2050, according to a 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a UN network of 2,000 scientists.
Maldives President Mohammed Nasheed warned on Thursday that developing nations would bear the brunt of environmental catastrophes caused by global warming and insisted that a new deal was essential.
"On the issue of climate change, there is no room for compromise, no deals, no half measures. Radical change is what's required," Nasheed told the conference.
Nasheed has become a leading voice on the issue of global warming, with his low-lying Indian Ocean island nation in danger of being swamped by rising sea levels.
First Published: Thursday, October 22, 2009, 23:44