AS COUNTRIES try to finalise rules and processes for implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change, India on Wednesday chided the developed world for continuing to ignore their obligations under the Kyoto Protocol that still has four years of life left.
India’s chief negotiator Ravishankar Prasad said it was ironical that while it took less than a year to operationalise the Paris Agreement, countries had still not ratified the 2012 Doha amendments to the Kyoto Protocol that assigned emission reduction targets for developed nations till 2020.
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“We cannot put ambition (in climate action) in cold storage for the next four years and keep discussing actions only in the post-2020 scenarios under the Paris Agreement. We must enhance the pre-2020 action as well, and for that developed countries must agree to a quick and time bound ratification of the Doha amendments. Let us have a target of April 2017 for doing that. When we are talking of initiating actions under the Paris Agreement, there is no reason why we should continue to delay actions under the Kyoto Protocol,” said Prasad.
Kyoto Protocol was negotiated in 1997 and came into existence in 2005. It assigned emission reduction targets for a group of rich and industrialised countries, first for a period between 2005 and 2012, and then, through the Doha amendments, between the period 2012 to 2020. The Paris Agreement seeks actions from all countries and not just from the rich and industrialised group as the Kyoto Protocol did.
The United States never ratified the Kyoto Protocol and remained outside of it. Many other countries failed to reach their assigned targets and some, like Japan, Australia and Canada, walked out of it after the first commitment period that ended in 2012. These countries are still to ratify the Doha amendments for their targets in the second commitment period.
India has been repeatedly raising the issue of pre-2020 actions that the developed countries are obliged to take under the Kyoto Protocol but have been avoiding.
Speaking at the high-level segment at the Marrakesh conference, Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave also stressed on the importance of pre-2020 climate actions by developed countries.
“I am of the view that it is absolutely critical and necessary that equal focus is given to pre-2020 actions by developed countries under Kyoto Protocol and that they provide effective finance, technology transfer and capacity building support to developing countries,” Dave said.
He said access to “adequate and predictable climate finance” continued to remain the “overriding concern” for developing countries.
Making the same point at an earlier meeting, Prasad said estimates of climate finance raised by developed nations, as reported in a recent analysis commissioned by the United Kingdom and Australia, were highly exaggerated. “Our estimates are that funding till now is only to the tune of US$ 20-25 billion. This needs to be scaled up quickly,” he said.
The analysis commissioned by UK and Australia claimed that the developed countries were on road to raise at least US$ 64 billion just from public sources by 2020. Developed countries are obliged to mobilise at least US$ 100 billion, from public, private and other sources, every year from 2020 to help developing countries fight climate change.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry today sought to calm the nerves of climate officials and activists who have been concerned at the election of Donald Trump as the next US President. Trump has promised to pull US out of the Paris Agreement, but Kerry today said this stand could change. “In the time that I have spent in public life, one of the things I have learnt is that some of the issues look a bit different when you are actually in office compared to when you are on the campaign trail,” said Kerry.