Jayanthi to lead India’s push at Durban talks
Durban: Amid concerns about lack of progress at the Durban Climate Summit, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan will lead the Indian delegation on Monday at the deliberations aimed at hammering out a consensus among 195 countries to ensure that Kyoto Protocol remains relevant and that the world moves forward towards a new legally binding deal for all in future.
India is basing its arguments on two demands:
1. Kyoto Protocol – the only legally binding treaty currently in force – is saved effectively beyond 2012, when its first phase expires.
2. There should be discussion on devising a new legally binding treaty for all. India is said to be open to it coming in force by 2015.
Talks are deadlocked over the proposed second set of goals, whose measures exclude the three biggest emitters -- the US, which never ratified the deal, and India and China, considered developing nations. Russia, Canada and Japan refused to agree targets beyond 2012 under Kyoto, saying they will be ineffective without limits for the worst polluters.
The EU is willing to sign up for a second commitment period if emerging economies also agree to take internationally binding carbon emissions cuts in the future.
However, now the EU is proposing a new track of negotiations that will place all countries under one legally binding treaty, which the bloc wants to negotiate by 2015 so that it can come into force by 2020.
This is viewed by developing countries as a complete abandonment of the current negotiating tracks that have been agreed to by the governments in the past decade.
Importantly, a study on the science of global warming from the body's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change due by the end of 2014, hence 2015 appears to be good time to begin to look at the future.
India also wants the Cancun agreements signed last year to be operationalised.
However, hopes are dim about forward movement on crucial questions of carbon emission reduction and legally binding commitments.
The first week of talks did not see breakthroughs on key issues like reduction of carbon emissions and setting up of the Green Climate Fund, which will provide USD 100 billion a year from 2020 to developing countries to combat climate change.
The European Union, the United States and the developing countries are firm on their long-stated positions that require the other party to do more.
Negotiators from 194 countries need to decide on steps to restrict the Earth's temperature rise to 2 degree Celsius.
Under the Kyoto Protocol, 37 developed countries have been placed under international legal obligations to reduce carbon emissions during a first commitment period, which expires next year.
It is also feared that this would leave developed countries under no obligation to reduce their carbon emissions from 2011 to 2020.
Negotiators from developing countries say that this will be a decade of no action.
The US and India, for their respective reasons, are resisting putting down any future obligations into a treaty.
This has caused activists and NGOs to club them together as deal breakers.
But New Delhi insists that poverty eradication remains its top priority and it will not accept international obligations to reduce its carbon emissions at this stage.
India has also dismissed as "rumours" reports that it has been in backroom negotiations with the US to push back any action on a legally-binding treaty on global warming at the ongoing climate conference.
"In this hall there are many rooms, but there are many more rumours," Jayant Mauskar, India's lead negotiator at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) summit, said when questioned about reports of backdoor dealings.
The US is also pushing for voluntary pledges to reduce emissions. They prefer a political commitment instead of a legally binding instrument.
India has agreed that developing countries could take on voluntary pledges.
But New Delhi wants developed countries to take on legally binding cuts since they have a "historical responsibility" for polluting the atmosphere since the industrial revolution.
Earlier in the week, the draft for the design of the Green Climate Fund was discussed.
This was seen as a positive development and developing countries are pushing for the Fund to be operationalised in Durban.
Now, however, several splits have emerged on the structure of the Fund, the money sources and which institution will be best suited to run it.
With PTI inputs