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'Climate deal cannot be achieved by passing burden of action'

India has said it would reduce carbon emissions relative to its GDP by 33 per cent to 35 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.

PTI| Updated: Oct 09, 2015, 11:57 AM IST

United Nations: Expressing disappointment with the low level of ambition displayed by developed nations to tackle climate change, India has said a lasting deal at the climate summit this year will not be achieved by passing the burden of action onto the shoulders of developing countries.

Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Bhagwant Bishnoi said India's "very ambitious" Intended Nationally Determined Contribution to tackle climate change in the post- 2020 period is in line with "our firm belief that while we were not a part of the problem, we want to be a part of the solution."

He, however, expressed dissatisfaction over the ambitions announced by developed countries, saying they cannot undermine the core principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities.

"Our overall success in Paris will depend however on equally good-faith efforts by all parties. We are so far not very enthused by the low level of ambition on display by developed countries," he said at a 2nd Committee meeting of the General Assembly, referring to the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Climate Change in Paris in December.

He said if this problem is to be decisively tackled, developed countries will have to take the visible lead by undertaking substantive and ambitious mitigation actions in line with their historical responsibility and greater capacity to act.

"They will have to demonstrably move their societies onto a path of sustainable consumption and lifestyles. A lasting agreement will not be achieved by passing the burden of action onto the shoulders of developing countries, nor by undermining the core principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities," he said yesterday.

India has said it would reduce carbon emissions relative to its GDP by 33 per cent to 35 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030. It also pledged that 40 per cent of the country?s electricity would come from non-fossil fuel-based sources, such as wind and solar power, by 2030.

Bishnoi said with the world leaders adopting an ambitious post 2015-development agenda, there is a "path-breaking template of action" to guide efforts to ending poverty and hunger within a generation.  

Bishnoi highlighted the three opportunities and three risks India sees in the achievement of the SDGs.

He said the first opportunity is retooling of national systems of implementation and review of progress, of the operational machinery of the UN system, and of the norm- setting deliberative organs of the UN including this Committee.

The other opportunity is presented by the universality of the agenda.

"It is no more for developing countries alone. Its implementation will require effective implementation in developed countries as well. This is an unprecedented opportunity to reimagine international cooperation and restructure its operational details so that we can maximize synergies and harness complementarities," he said.

The third opportunity is presented by the combining of objectives and instruments within the 2030 agenda, which is unique in that it integrates instruments to achieve the objectives along side the objectives themselves.

In terms of risks, Bishnoi said there is a risk that the agenda may be perceived as over ambitious and it should be ensured that issues are not cherry-picked from within the agenda.

"In doing so, there is a risk of selective importance being given to pet issues in implementation. It is particularly important that the UN system avoids such cherry picking of issues from within the agenda," he said.

The second risk is that of reinterpretation or subjective interpretation to suit pre-set notions or preferences, he said, adding that it is important that the indivisible and integrated nature of the agenda is not allowed to be subverted by such reinterpretations of its mandate.

Thirdly, while integration is the hallmark of the new agenda and an opportunity, perpetuation of a silo mindset or mal-integration could be a significant risk.

"Integration does not mean mainstreaming only one of the three dimensions into all others. We have already seen a tendency to over emphasize the environmental lens and undermine the equal salience of the economic and social pillars. This needs to be avoided," he said.