Ahead of the start of second week of climate negotiations where big decisions and compromises need to be made to reach an agreement, India on Sunday said it will ensure that the rich countries “pay back their debt” to the world for having polluted the atmosphere for over 100 years.
In a statement ahead of the ministerial segment of the Paris climate change conference beginning on Monday, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said India was “determined” not to let this conference end like the previous ones on “false optimism”. “We are at this time midway on our journey to reach new climate agreement, but substance wise we are not midway but sometimes at crossroads,” Javadekar said.
“India is determined not to make Paris summit like past summits where we all returned home with false optimism and fictitious hopes. For India, it is a question of present and future lives of our 1.27 billion people with aspirations to develop. India is here to ensure that seminal principle of CBDR is respected, and India is here to ensure that rich countries pay back their debt for overdraft that they have drawn on the carbon space,” he said.
CBDR refers to the Common But Differentiated Responsibilities, a principle that differentiates between developed and developing countries for taking on the burden of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, which is the cause of global warming and resultant climate change.
For the past one week, negotiators in Paris have been trying to finalise a global agreement to facilitate emission reductions. Little progress has been made, however, with all contentious issues remaining unresolved. Most of these require political decisions to be taken, and now that the ministerial segment is due to begin, it is hoped that compromise solutions will be reached in the next couple of days. The conference has to end on Friday, hopefully with the finalisation of an agreement.
Referring to some attempts to introduce provisions, which do not fall within the ambit of the 1994 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), under which the current negotiations are being held, Javadekar said India would not agree to any rewriting of the Convention.
“UNFCCC is a global climate constitution. Any attempt to rewrite or to overwrite will not be acceptable to anybody. Our collective decision should be based on science, CBDR, and collective conscience,” he said.
The main fight in the negotiations so far has been on money, and the construct of a transparency mechanism that will allow every country to see whether everyone else was doing what it had promised to.
The first week of discussions, mainly in small groups, has thrown up a 43-page draft negotiating text.