I was trying a balancing act in Cancun: Ramesh
New Delhi: Facing flak for indicating India's willingness to accept greenhouse gas emission at Cancun UN climate change conference, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said his effort was to ensure a balance between safeguarding the country's position and showing sensitivity to a majority view on the issue.
In a letter to MPs, Ramesh also said he did not make any commitment on India undertaking absolute emission cuts.
He said India has made it very clear that while it will undertake voluntary mitigation actions, including reducing the emissions intensity of its GDP by 20-25 per cent by 2020 on a 2005 reference year, it will not take on any emission cuts or agree to any peaking year for its emissions.
"There is no change in this position," the minister said. A legally-binding agreement is not acceptable to India at
this stage, Ramesh said.
"Unless we have clarity on (a) what the substance of such an agreement is (b) what the penalties for non-compliance are and (c) what the system for monitoring is, we will not be able to even consider a legally binding agreement. This position remains unchanged," he wrote.
"My effort was to walk the thin line between safeguarding our position while showing a level of sensitivity to the view shared by the majority of countries at Cancun, including many of our developing country partners", Ramesh said.
"I believe we have been able to walk this thin line effectively with this stand. This nuancing of our position will expand negotiating options for us and give us an all-round advantageous standing," he said in his letter.
Ramesh's remarks almost at the fag end of the Cancun conference in Cancun had come under attack from BJP, Left parties and some green groups which accused him of deviating from India's long-held position of not accepting emission cuts under a legally-binding agreement.
The developing countries argue that it was the developed world which was responsible for polluting the environment and should undertake mandatory carbon oxide cut.