In Lima to attend the high-level ministerial segment of the annual climate change conference, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday said the government will soon amend a number of green laws that will yield “climate co-benefits” and put India on a low-emission growth pathway.
Though the details of the proposed amendments are still being fleshed out, Javadekar said some of the law changes suggested by the TSR Subramanian committee, which recently submitted its report, could be a good starting point.
The committee, constituted to study six environmental laws and propose amendments for better implementation, had recommended an Environmental Laws Management Act (ELMA). But that proposal does not have a climate objective. The committee acknowledged that the proposed law is concerned “primarily with management of applications for (project) clearances”. But, it said at a later point that laws on air and water pollution should get subsumed in the ELMA.
“The suggestions of the Subramanian committee can be the starting point but we will have to include more provisions so that climate objectives are also achieved. But we intend to introduce these amendments in the budget session,” Javadekar said. “These amendments would ensure a package of laws that will have tremendous climate co-benefits,” he added.
Meanwhile, Javadekar held a bilateral meeting with Todd Stern, the lead negotiator for the US, Sunday morning. The two sides are learnt to have discussed the contentious issues in defining the Intended Nationally-Determined Contributions (INDCs), which will become the basis for the climate agreement expected to be finalised in Paris next year.
India and the US have some common positions on the INDCs. Both are against an ex-ante review of ‘contributions’ announced by countries to assess whether the aggregate of ‘contributions’ from all countries is in line with the global objective of keeping the planet’s temperature from rising above 2 degree Celsius from a 1850 baseline. Both agree that such a review will negate the ‘nationally-determined’ character of the INDCs.
But there are strong differences on a number of issues. India has been strongly arguing in favour of maintaining a distinction between developed and developing countries in the INDCs according to the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities enshrined in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change under which the negotiations are taking place. US is not in favour of any such differentiation.
During the talks on Sunday, India is learnt to have sought US support for the inclusion of adaptation measures in the INDCs. India has been maintaining that ‘contributions’ cannot only mean mitigation actions and that adaptation measures, especially by developing countries, should also be counted as ‘contributions’ in fighting climate change. The US does not want a mitigation-centric effort to be diluted.
The two countries are also learnt to have discussed bilateral efforts in dealing with the adverse effects of climate change.
On Monday, Javadekar is meeting the Chinese delegation after which a meeting of representatives of SAARC countries is planned.