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India for new greenhouse gas target

In a bid to break the stalemate over talks to decide on a post-2012 framework on climate change,India...

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
June 22, 2009 1:18:24 am

In a bid to break the stalemate over talks to decide on a post-2012 framework on climate change,India,along with other developing countries,has moved an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol that proposes a new target for reduction of greenhouse gases (GHGs) by the developed nations.

At the United Nations Climate Conference in Bonn,which ended last week,India and other countries proposed that the developed countries,or Annex-I countries as defined in the Kyoto Protocol,should together commit to a minimum of 40 per cent reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020 from the 1990 levels.

The amendment also set out indicative targets for individual developed countries based on the principle of historical responsibility,according to which the countries which have released maximum amount of GHGs in the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial revolution in 1850 are asked to undertake maximum cuts in their emissions now.

The amendment,which has the support of all major developing countries like China,Brazil,South Africa,Indonesia,Pakistan,Malaysia,Algeria,Kenya and Tanzania,is an attempt to put pressure on the developed countries,many of which have been trying to avoid reduction targets beyond 2012. Under Kyoto Protocol,the Annex-I countries are supposed to cut their emissions by 5.2 per cent from the 1990 levels by the year 2012.

For the period beyond 2012,for which the negotiations are supposed to be finalised by December this year,the developed nations have been putting pressure on countries like India and China — major GHG emitters but having extremely low per capita emissions — to undertake reduction targets,a proposal that is being resisted fiercely by these countries.

By moving this amendment together,India and China have demonstrated that attempts to divide the group of developing countries have not yielded any result. Also,a bilateral deal between the US and China was far from reality as of now.

At the same time,the amendment gives a significant push to the negotiations,which had reached a deadlock for quite some time because of a lack of consensus on the issue. It came just in the nick of time as an amendment needed to be proposed at least six months in advance of the Copenhagen Summit in December.

Speaking at the Bonn Conference,Shyam Saran,Special Envoy of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,hoped that a “positive change” in the attitude of the developed countries would take place by the time the parties return for talks in Bonn in August. “It is a matter of deep regret that most Annex I countries are unlikely to meet their emission reduction obligations set for the first commitment period. And it is a matter of even deeper concern that there has been hardly any progress on achieving the key objective of our negotiations,that is to announce the second commitment period targets,which must be of a scale equal to the challenge we face from global climate change,” he said.

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