With Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar having arrived in Lima over the weekend along with some other senior officials and negotiators, the Indian camp in Lima has got down to business, holding a first ministerial-level bilateral meeting with the United States on Sunday.
Except for a forceful intervention arguing that adaptation measures should also be counted as “contributions” by a country towards the global fight against climate change, India has largely preferred to play a wait and watch game to see how the negotiations are playing out.
But that was always scheduled to change in the second week with a large number of bilateral meetings planned for Javadekar who is here to attend the high-level segment of the climate change conference starting on Tuesday.
India and the US delegation, which was led by its chief negotiator Todd Stern who too arrived in Lima only over the weekend, are learnt to have discussed the contentious issues in defining the INDCs, or Intended Nationally-Determined Contributions, which will become the basis for the climate agreement that is expected to be finalized in Paris next year.
India and the United States have some common positions on the INDCs. Both are against an ex-ante review of the ‘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 an ex-ante review will negate the ‘nationally-determined’ character of the INDCs.
But there are strong differences between the two as well. India has been strongly arguing in favour of maintaining a distinction between developed and developing countries in the INDCs according the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) enshrined in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) under which the climate negotiations are taking place. United States is not in favour of any such differentiation.
During the talks on Sunday morning, India is learnt to have sought the 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 the developing countries, should also be counted as ‘contributions’ in fighting climate change.
The two countries are also learnt to have discussed bilateral efforts in dealing with the adverse effects of climate change. The bilateral meeting with the United States was just the first in a series of such meetings planned for Javadekar.
Meanwhile, Indian negotiators said the process of finalizing India’s INDCs had begun and all the relevant ministries and departments had been asked to send in their inputs. These ministries had been told to make their schemes and programmes climate-sensitive and ensure that any positive effects of these programmmes on climate were properly measured so that these can be claimed as ‘contributions’ in the INDCs.
At least four organizations with expertise in climate change, energy, and economy, including TERI, IRADE and Indian Institute of Economic Growth, have been working on formulating a low-carbon growth path for India till 2050. The first of their reports are likely to come out in January after which the government plans to discuss them at workshops and seminars to get public feedback and suggestions.