Manmohan Singh to attend Copenhagen Summit
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Last Updated: Saturday, December 05, 2009, 23:54
New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday decided to attend the Copenhagen Summit on climate change on December 18, reflecting the importance attached by India to the meet where it is expected to play a crucial role.

Singh will undertake a two-day visit to Copenhagen from December 17 to attend the Summit, the Prime Minister's Office said.

The Prime Minister's decision to attend the Summit comes against the backdrop of world leaders, including US President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, pressing him to be there considering India's role on the issue.

Around 80 Presidents and Prime Ministers are expected to attend the Summit on December 17-18.

Earlier, India had decided that it will be represented by Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh at the conference.

Obama, during his meeting with Singh in Washington last week, had suggested to the Prime Minister that he should attend the Climate Summit. Obama will be there on December 18.

Subsequently, when Sarkozy met Singh in Port of Spain, he also requested him to join him at Copenhagen.

The French President later told a press conference, "If India is to be heard, it needs to be present (at Copenhagen)", apparently referring to the need for Singh's presence.

Pressing for urgent action to tackle global warming, India wants "substantive legally-binding" outcome from Copenhagen conference which begins on Monday with meeting of negotiators and will have high-level segment from December 16.

Ahead of the Copenhagen conference, India said it would be "flexible" at the climate meet while ensuring that its national interests are not affected.

Ramesh made clear India's intentions to do its bit to fight climate change when he announced on Thursday that the country would voluntarily reduce carbon emission intensity by 20-25 percent by 2020 from the 2005 levels.

Carbon intensity is the volume of emission proportionate to the GDP. By reducing the intensity, government intends to maintain high GDP growth while ensuring lesser emission.

Ramesh said the government would undertake a series of policy measures including mandatory fuel efficiency standards for all vehicles by December 2011, model green building code and amendment of Energy Conservation Act to make it necessary for industries to have energy efficiency certificates.

He said if the Copenhagen Summit is successful in reaching a "comprehensive and equitable agreement", India would be willing to do more but only through voluntary measures.

At the same time, Ramesh asserted that there is no question of accepting any legally binding emission cuts and agreeing on any "peaking year" for its emissions.

Rejecting the Opposition charge that government was preparing for a "sell-out" in the Copenhagen summit by giving up on its long-held positions, he said, "I am not buying a ticket to Copenhagen to drown India's interests there."


First Published: Saturday, December 05, 2009, 23:54

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