Rahul Kumar/ OneWorld South Asia
New Delhi: The Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS ) is becoming an enabling platform for many a bilateral discussion. Serge Lepeltier, the French Ambassador for Climate Change Negotiations and former minister of environment, was in Delhi meeting Indian Government officials and think thanks. The negotiator said that one of the highlights of his visit was to prepare a working group with India on climate change issues.
Lepeltier had started work on climate change as a Member of the Parliament fifteen years back, at a time, when, in his own words, he “was not sure if climate change was real or not. But now my function is to link the political level with the technological level. In matters of arbitration, I speak to my minister for clarity.”
At a press conference in Delhi on the sidelines of the DSDS, Lepeltier said that it is important to talk to India on climate change as India is crucial for the future of climate change negotiations. “If we need to have a good agreement in 2015, it is important that all countries are in agreement. The Indian approach is important as it is a country of over a billion people,” the ambassador said.
Showing a certain understanding about the stand taken by some of the developing countries at the Durban talks, Lepeltier said: “It is very important to have the views of the developing countries because of poverty, GDP and different per capita emissions.”
When asked whether there is a change in the stand of the European Union (EU) since the Durban meet on climate change, Lepeltier said: “We are in reflection in the EU on how to build the foundations of a new agreement in the future. We are reflecting on what to propose for the future. We had a meeting in Denmark just two weeks back as Denmark is now heading the EU. We understand that the commitment will not be the same for different countries. But, if we want commitments from every country, it is important to define what the commitments will be from every country.”
Elaborating on why it is impossible to have the same commitment from different countries, the climate change negotiator said that even within India, different states have different growth rates, varying emissions of green house gases, and levels of pollution. Also, India has very low per capita emissions, which is so specific to India. “France wants to work with India on climate change in relation to its equity, approval, concept and future.”
Lepeltier added that the fight against climate change is clearly linking development and growth. He said: “If India has to continue to grow, it is important to study energy efficiency. In the long term it means greenhouse gases go down. The link between economy and climate change is very important.”
Talking about the impact of Canada’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol, the French climate change negotiator said that it will not become a precedent for the others. He said: “I do not think there will be other countries which will leave the Kyoto Protocol.”
He also said that the forthcoming Rio+20 meet in June will not impact the climate change negotiations. “Rio+20 is about two concepts, sustainable development and the global governance of environment, where we do not want to impact Rio+20 with climate change talks.”
One thing that came about clearly from the French Ambassador for Climate Change Negotiations was his earnest in gathering views from a cross section of the Indian society on the future of climate change negotiations. Towards the end, he did mention that the talks with India will continue as “we cannot afford to talk without India.”