India must not announce peaking year, says expert

India should priotorise peaking technology transfer from countries like the US in tune with its growth imperative before declaring a year to cap off its carbon emission, an expert said as environmentalists discussed the effect of climate change in Asia.

IANS| Updated: Dec 14, 2014, 13:55 PM IST

New Delhi: India should priotorise peaking technology transfer from countries like the US in tune with its growth imperative before declaring a year to cap off its carbon emission, an expert said as environmentalists discussed the effect of climate change in Asia.

As the world's fourth biggest polluter, India faces pressure from the global community to announce a peaking year just as China fixed 2030 as the year when its carbon emission tops out before plummeting thereafter.

However, Rajendra Shende, former director, UN Environment Programme and chairperson at Terre Policy Centre, dismissed the idea saying India need not declare its peaking year for carbon emission just because China did.

"Instead, India should declare that it would peak its technology usage that is important for the growth of its poor people. We would peak that first before peaking our emission. This should be the international stand," he said at a lecture on "Asia's Climate Change Challenge" organised by the Society for Policy Studies here Saturday evening.

"India should not imitate China which has already gone through its accelerated growth phase and is now calming down. India should have its approach that suits the Indian scenario and nurtures the ambitions of its rural poor and aspiring urban middle class," Shende later told IANS.

"Implementation of the 'peaking the emission pledge' will need careful analysis of investments already made and the plans for the future.

"I suggest that India should not agree for 'peaking emission' by certain time line, unless there is a definite pledge by the US for technology transfer, technology development and technology cooperation along with financial assistance.

"I would say that during the visit of President (Barack) Obama, India should pitch for peaking the technology cooperation and finances along with peaking the emissions.

"We should give climate issue a spin during Obama's visit that 'Let us focus on cutting the delays in implementation of the pledges' along with 'cutting the emission' . This is a must, considering that climate tragedy is at our door-step," Shende stated.

Peaking year is a time-frame within which the carbon emissions of a country grow to the highest-level and decrease thereafter.

In view of the effects of climate change across the globe, Shinde said the level of carbon concentration in the ecosystem was rising, averaging 2 ppm per year, especially near Hawaii that recorded the level to the tune of 400 ppm (part per million) in 2013.

At this rate, it would take only 20 more years for the concentration level to touch the target of 450 ppm set by the UN to stabilise the CO2 concentration at the level it would not interfere with the eco system.

However, Shinde cautioned that the need was to contain the rising level ahead of the UN target.

Closer to home, Shende said the receding glaciers and the melting snow in the Himalayan region due to open burning of residue in the fields in Punjab was another danger that stared India.

He said the UN secretary general had cautioned the world against the issue of melting snow in the Arctic and Antarctic region that could potentially give rise to geopolitical conflicts.

Impressing upon the need for a policy framework committed to the usage of alternative renewable energy sources and energy conservation, Shinde said innovative practices to harvest energy and solar energy could work in the direction of making India energy efficient.