New Delhi: Terming the Indo-US Joint Working Group as an "important platform" for addressing environment and sustainable development concerns, Environment minister Prakash Javadekar Wednesday said the group needs to work "very closely" and develop common understanding and balanced package for post 2020 period.
Javadekar today met the US Special Envoy Climate Change Todd Stern and discussed a sequence of events in the run up to the Conference of the Parties (CoP) in Paris next year which was followed by the first meeting of the India US Joint Working Group on combating Climate Change.
Stressing that both the countries have "experience and technologies", Javadekar said that the best practices can be shared by both the nations and hoped the joint partnership to go ahead and become "very active" cooperation partners in days to come.
"In view of the 2015 agreement on climate change, the group needed to work very closely and develop common understanding for ambitious and balanced package for post 2020 period. The Joint Working Group would also establish coordination on Mitigation and Adaptation aspects," he told reporters after the meeting.
"We can collaborate because essentially both countries have experience and different kinds of technologies. We can share many best practices," he said, adding he was confident that there would be some kind of agreed outcome which would limit the global temperature rise under two degrees Celsius.
Javadekar said the group may consider other issues related to phasing out of Hydro-fluoro carbon and may consider discussing both scientific and technical aspects of the issue to prepare a common strategy.
"The Group may consider other issues related to phase out of Hydro-fluoro carbon which is a green house gas but substitutes ozone depleting substance and has much higher GWP. The Working Group may consider discussing both scientific and technical aspects of the issue to prepare a common strategy," he said.
Asserting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a "strong record of engagement" on clean energy and climate change in Gujarat, Stern said both countries were looking forward to "still more" important relationship going forward.
"There is obviously a new Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has a strong record of engagement on clean energy and climate change in Gujarat and who has already indicated in a number of ways the priorities that he intends to assign to these issues.
"US and India who have had a very constructive partnership on these issues in the past years have every basis for looking forward to still more important relationship going forward," he said.
Stern said both nations were discussing multi-lateral issues relating to international climate negotiations that would culminate at the end 2015 in Paris as well various kinds of bilateral cooperations.
"I think we meet at a propitious moment. President Barak Obama is leading an intensive engagement focussed both on whole set of policies related to mitigation.
"The most important of which was the recent announcement of new EPA rules regarding the reduction of emissions in our entire power sector but a whole host of policies in many different sectors which are part of the President`s climate action plan," Stern said.
Javadekar, while replying to a question on India`s earlier stance of refusing to carbon limits and would there be a different stance in Paris, said essentially the Kyoto arrangement was not India`s demand.
"It was a globally accepted regime. We are taking our own actions. We are positive on that agenda.
We are making our economy a green economy. We are moving on the path of cleaner energy and besides that we are achieving energy efficiency in practically every sector of the economy.
"We want to march ahead very confidently on that. We want the technologies to flow freely and the development funds which the developed world has promised also to flow freely so that things can be achieved. That is what we expect. But we are always positive on the climate debate," he said.
The Minister said that deliberations on important activities in the areas of clean Energy, smart grid and energy efficiency, development of technology, sharing of information on best practices on adaptation measures were done during the meeting.
Highlighting the IPCC 5th Assessment Report, Javadekar said that non-availability of water was an important concern for mankind and called on the joint group to work together on various technologies for enhancing water use efficiency, conservation of water resources and ground water recharging.
The Minister further said that REDD+ issues had gained momentum through adoption of various decisions by COPs in its previous sessions.
"In view of this the management practice responsible for enhancing eco system services, carbon sequestration and protection of bio-diversity required significant research and development activities. This would form part of deliberations of the Joint Working Group," he said.
Javadekar said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was much committed to climate change debate and initiatives.
"Therefore for the first time in India, the Environment and Forest ministry is now Environment, Forest and Climate change ministry. The added nomenclature gives the importance that we place in all these climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.
"US has gone through all the phases of development and has developed many technologies which we can share. Today joint group will also come out with fruitful outcome which will help both the countries," he said.
Javadekar also emphasised ratification and implementation of the second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol including enhancing of mitigation ambition by Annex-I Parties, as a very important step.
The Minister mentioned that Technology Mechanism must be fully "operationalised" and suggested that funds from Green Climate Fund can be used to purchase Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) of climate friendly technologies and provided to developing countries free of cost.
He added that contributions for Green Climate Fund should be ensured immediately.
Javadekar also reiterated his government`s commitment towards sustainable development and efficient use of energy and mentioned the major climate friendly initiatives which have been introduced in the Union Budget this year including increase of cess on coal increased from Rs 50 per ton to Rs 100 per ton, raising more revenue for Clean energy, Rs 100 crores for the "National Adaptation Fund" for climate change and others.