Beijing: Enviornment Minister Jairam Ramesh Sunday said the prospect of a breakthrough to combat climate change at the Cancun meet this year is "very remote" due to unwillingness of top emitters like the US and China to make any firm commitments on greenhouse gas reductions.
"The prospect of a breakthrough in 2010 is very, very remote...We have reached virtually a dead end" as number one and two top emitters -- US and China -- are unwilling to make any firm commitments to reduce greenhouse gases, Ramesh told an interactive session at the Foreign Correspondents Club.
The next major UN climate conference is in Cancun, Mexico, in December. BASIC countries -- Brazil, South Africa, China and India -- had hammered out `Copenhagen Accord` at the Climate Change conference in December 2009.
"Whether it is one agreement or a series of sub-agreements remains to be seen. But I am not very optimistic of one overarching legally binding agreement," he said.
Ramesh said there are chances that leading countries could work out "building block" agreements on subjects like forest and technology.
"What I am more hopeful of is series of building block agreement like forestry, like technology, like finance.
Whether it adds up to an overall overarching legally binding agreement I am not sure," he said.
He said India is opposed to any carbon tax "imposed by any developed country" on imports from India and China.
"We think this is against the WTO. These carbon taxes are not WTO compatible. They would in fact not only wreck climate change but [also wreck] international trade. We are completely opposed to the idea of an international carbon tax, or a carbon tax at the border," he said.
Carbon tax as an instrument to regulate international trade is a very bad idea, he said.
China`s top climate change negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, twice shouted and thumped the table when the agreement was signed at Copenhagen, Ramesh recalled.
President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao were all in the room during the negotiations.
"What did he say?`" Ramesh quoted Clinton as saying. "`He`s congratulating us,`" Obama said, according to Ramesh.
Ramesh said he never found out what Xie was shouting about. "I think he was saying the Americans were not fulfilling their part of the bargain. That`s my guess," the Environment Minister said.