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Ramesh seeks bridging of trust deficit on climate talks

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - 10:42

Washington: Minister for Environment Jairam
Ramesh has sought a bridging of the "trust deficit" on climate
negotiations, suggesting that a beginning of disbursement of
the promised USD 10 billion aid to developing countries could
help reduce the sharp differences.

Addressing the 6th Major Economies Forum meeting on
Climate Change, Ramesh said though the Copenhagen Accord is
undoubtedly an important step forward, but it cannot be a
separate track for negotiation.

"I have repeatedly said that the areas of agreement
reflected in the Accord must be used to bring consensus in the
on-going two-track negotiating process which is the only
process that has legitimacy.

"Gordian knot-cutting can well be plurilateral but
ultimately negotiations must be multilateral and carried out
in good faith," Ramesh said in his well received address to
the conference through video.

The Minister could not travel to the US because of the
disruption in European air route due to Icelandic volcanic
eruption. Heads of several of the participating countries
could not attend the meeting because of this.

India was represented by the Deputy Ambassador to the UN
Manjeev Puri.

Laying out a road map for reducing the "trust deficit,"
between the two blocs on climate negotiations, Ramesh said
there must be some visible triggers that get activated very
soon to ensure that Cancun does not repeat Copenhagen.

"One such trigger is the beginning of actual disbursement
of the USD 10 billion promised by the developed countries for
this year for vulnerable economies, small island states and
LDCs," he observed.

"Another trigger could be an agreement on REDD/REDD+
provided it looks at all potential countries uniformly and
does not limit itself only to forest-basin countries.

Finalising the architecture of technology cooperation is
yet another confidence-building measure, he said.

He said all these elements should be a part of a
multilateral package in two tracks that should be delivered in
Cancun later this year.

Arguing that equity is the cornerstone of any
international agreement that will be accepted by developing
countries, Ramesh said the Copenhagen Accord sets a global
goal and this will determine a certain global carbon budget.

"The implications of this budget for the carbon budgets
of individual countries need to be analysed in detail and it
has to be guaranteed as part of any international agreement
that development goals of economic growth are not jeopardised
by such budgets," he said.

He said the global objective of restricting temperature
rise to two degrees Celsius by 2050 from mid-19th century
levels must be firmly embedded in a demonstrably equitable
access to atmospheric space with adequate finance and
technology available to all developing countries.

Ramesh said the Major Economies need to better understand
the mantra of "internationally legally-binding agreement"
which some developed countries keep chanting.

"What does it mean in practice? What are the consequences
of non-fulfillment? What are the extenuating circumstances
which could allow for non-fulfillment of commitments made as
part of such an agreement? What is the place for domestic
accountability mechanisms in such an agreement?" he asked.

The Minister stressed that the voluntary actions of
developing countries which are subject of such international
consultations and analysis should, under no circumstances, be
seen as taking on internationally legally binding commitments.

Talking to reporters after the conclusion of the meeting,
Todd Stern, Special US Envoy on Climate Change, acknowledged
that differences remain among the participating nations on
this issue.

However, he noted that there "is more convergence than
you might think at the broad level".

PTI

First Published: Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - 10:42
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