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India, China strengthen position on climate change

Heated debates would dominate the Copenhagen summit with developing nations to pre-empt developed nations` move on binding carbon emission cuts.

Updated: Nov 30, 2009, 00:27 AM IST

New Delhi: Heated debates are expected to dominate the UN summit on climate change at Copenhagen with developing nations coming with their own draft to pre-empt developed nations` likely move to insist on binding carbon emission cuts.

"What China and India besides other key developing nations have done is consolidating their position anchored in the UN Framework on Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ahead of the climate meet," a senior government official said about the recent two-day talks in Beijing.

The countries had said they had reached an agreement on major issues, including the need for the West to provide finance and technology to help developing nations combat global warming.

The official strongly felt that India and developing nations, through the declaration listing their "non-negotiable" demands have made clear that they will not take binding emission cuts that would compromise their development growth.

"But still, we have shown our intention to be "flexible", for instance ready to report and verify mitigation action in case they are backed by requisite finance and technology," he added.

To this, he referred to the statement by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, made at Commonwealth Heads of Government Meet, that said, "India is willing to sign on to an ambitious global target for emission reduction or limiting temperature increase if it is accompanied by an equitable burden-sharing paradigm."

The 10-page draft, which has been signed by China, India, Brazil and South Africa, is being conceived as a counter to the text that will be released by western countries next week, as a possible basis for negotiations, when talks begin on December 7.

Meanwhile, the developed nations are seeking tougher legally binding climate agreement to expand or replace the Kyoto Protocol, whose first phase ends in 2012.

However, India`s lead negotiator Shyam Saran too, had at Port of Spain, categorically refused to take on any emission cuts and instead referred to various voluntarily steps taken by India in terms of improvement in energy efficiency.

He felt these steps have actually added up to a very major contribution to the global efforts on mitigation.

He maintained that, "it is a question how this (mitigation steps) has to be reflected at Copenhagen. And what we have stated is that we are in a position to reflect whatever we are doing in the form of our national
communication to the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC)."

Sirish Sinha, who heads the climate change division in World Wildlife Fund too opined that there was no obligation on India to reduce cuts and the Beijing statement speaks of the coordinated approach the developing nations would take at the meet.

"We have shown that India is prepare to do a lot like mitigation action which is a voluntary choice," he added. Prabhat Upadhyaya, a researcher from Teri said it is a signal to the G-77 nations that developing countries are together and that they will stick together at the negotiation table.
‘Emerging nations unite’

A group of developing nations
has agreed a common position in a bid to pressure rich
countries during crunch climate talks in Copenhagen after
low-key talks in China, state media said in Beijing on Sunday.

Representatives from China, India, Brazil, South
Africa and Sudan, which currently chairs the Group of 77
developing countries, met in Beijing Friday and Saturday, the
official People`s Daily newspaper reported.

They agreed to ask "developed countries to assume
responsibility for emissions reduction targets in the second
commitment period (from 2013)," the report said.

The December 7-18 United Nations climate conference
in Copenhagen is tasked with framing a new deal for tackling
global warming and its impacts beyond 2012.

But observers say have warned slow progress in
talks, held up especially by US politics, means the meeting is
likely at best to yield a framework accord whose details will
be hammered out next year.

The group of emerging economies also highlighted
their view that the West should provide funds and technology
to help poorer countries fight global warming.

"All sides believe that results from the Copenhagen
meeting should cover topics such as a common vision for
long-term cooperation... funding and technology transfer," the
report said.