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India no to binding climate agreement

Natarajan says extend Kyoto Protocol first,India committed to voluntary emission cuts

Rejecting demands that India’s voluntary actions on climate be brought under an international legal framework,Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said the first necessary step towards negotiating a global climate agreement must be to extend the Kyoto Protocol for a period beyond 2012 when it is currently slated to expire.

At an informal ministerial meeting in Pretoria,South Africa,last week,Natarajan said negotiating the legal framework for an agreement whose contents were not yet finalised was akin to “putting the horse before the cart”.

Natarajan,attending her first international climate meeting,insisted that the targeted result from the annual climate conference,to be held in December,should be to extend the Kyoto Protocol,which puts legally-binding emission cut targets on about 40 rich and industrialised countries that are responsible for the bulk of emissions in the past 150 years.

“There can be no guarantee of effective stabilisation (of temperature rise) unless the developed country parties who have the largest share of historical stock of emissions agree to reach their peak. Stabilisation of climate is based on the actions taken to reduce the stock of emissions,” she said.

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Many of these countries want nations like India and China,which have emerged as big emitters in recent years,to also take targeted emission cuts even though they are not mandated to do so under the Kyoto Protocol,or to place their voluntary actions — both have announced targets for reducing emissions — under an international legal framework. Both,and many others,have refused.

Natarajan clarified that Jairam Ramesh’s remark at the Cancun climate meet last year that “all countries must take on a binding commitment under an appropriate legal form” — this had led many to believe India was ready to place voluntary actions under a legal framework — must be seen in the “context of balanced and comprehensive outcomes” from negotiations on a global climate agreement. “The second commitment period (beyond 2012) under the Kyoto Protocol is a very important part of this balance,” she said. “The issue of legal form should therefore be addressed after we have reached a consensus on the outcomes (in negotiations).”

First published on: 16-09-2011 at 02:38:36 am
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