Oppn slams climate deal; Govt says won`t hurt sovereignty
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Last Updated: Wednesday, December 23, 2009, 00:11
New Delhi: Faced with a strident attack from Opposition over the Copenhagen climate deal, the government on Tuesday asserted that the Accord will not affect the country's sovereignty but admitted digression on the issue of reporting about mitigation actions on tackling global warming.

Informing the Rajya Sabha about the outcome of last week's climate summit, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh sought to allay apprehensions on account of a provision in the Accord for "international consultations and analysis" as well as mention of peaking for which no time-frame has been specified.

Rejecting the Opposition charges about compromising the country's interests, he argued that India had to be flexible as it, along with China, Brazil and South Africa, did not want to be "responsible for failure" of the climate meet and become "blame boys".

BJP, CPI(M) and CPI slammed the government and trashed the Accord as "disappointing", "a compromise document" and "an attempt to jettison the Kyoto Protocol and Bali Action Plan."

They said the Accord would open up India's voluntary mitigation actions to foreign scrutiny and accused the government of "spin-doctoring" like on the Sharm-el Sheikh Joint Statement between India and Pakistan.

Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley said the government had digressed from its commitments to Parliament.

Ramesh admitted to digression from its pre-Copenhagen assurance on one aspect -- allowing provision for "international consultation and analysis" rather than just informing the UNFCCC about domestic mitigation programmes.

"I plead guilty. I moved from information to consultation. Yes, there has been a shift," Ramesh said while replying to clarifications during which Opposition members faulted the Accord for having the clause on consultations.

At the same time, he asserted that the provision for "international consultations and analysis" would not affect India's sovereignty as guidelines for it had to be evolved.

"These clearly defined guidelines will ensure that the national sovereignty is respected," he said, adding India will ensure that the consultative process is not "intrusive".

The minister acknowledged that there were "pressures" from some developed as well as least developing nations to bury the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which mandates that rich countries take deep emission cuts in a legally-binding manner.

In this regard, he noted that the US had not ratified Kyoto Protocol while Japan wanted to dump it.

"There are dangers... But we will fight and not let it (Kyoto Protocol) die or for that matter the Bali Action Plan and UNFCCC," Ramesh told reporters later.

In Rajya Sabha, Jaitley said mention of "international consultations and analysis" on mitigation steps "obliterates distinction between supported and unsupported actions" and India could be subjected to some kind of inspections.

"Consequences will follow" if India does not meet the targets it outlines even though these may be unsupported actions, the BJP leader contended.

Allaying fears on the provision of consultations, Ramesh said India had decades of experience on such discussions with IMF and WTO and no sovereignty has been eroded.

"We should not fear the word consultations... There is no great sell-out… The guidelines (for consultations) will be decided by 194 countries," the Environment Minister said, adding India will ensure that the "guidelines do not lead to (foreign) inspectors coming in."

On peaking of emissions, Ramesh said no timeline has been fixed for it. He, however, underlined that peaking would have to take place some time in the 21st century, otherwise "there will be no 22nd century".

With regard to financing, he said India was not desperate like Bangladesh or any African country for foreign funds for mitigation actions. "We can stand on our own."

On concerns over technology transfer from developed countries to developing nations, he said India did not require green technology as it had ample capacity in this regard.

Noting that it was a business opportunity for Indian entrepreneurs, he expressed confidence that within two years, India would be able to export green technology.

On the Opposition charge that India is allowing the developed countries off the hook as regards their previous commitments, Ramesh said while there are attempts to dump the Kyoto Protocol, India stands committed to the same.

"The UNFCCC, Bali Plan and Kyoto Protocol are sacrosanct. We are not moving away from it in any manner," he said.

Jaitley said the Accord was a "global disappointment" and "betrayal of the poor and developing nations" with a "premium for the defaults of developed nations".

He said the Accord reflected "zero concern for what is being done to earth" and attacked the government for flaunting it as a success where as it was a "lost opportunity".


First Published: Wednesday, December 23, 2009, 00:11

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