India has made its stand more than clear before the Copenhagen climate change summit — no legally binding emission cuts, something India has repeatedly clarified at more public fora than one in recent past.
Jairam Ramesh, minister for environment and forest, in his trademark style, made the announcement today in the lower house of Parliament — India will never accept a legally binding emission reduction agreement. The three hour ‘green debate’ in Parliament itself was a historic first.
The view is in line with what IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri thinks should be India’s line at the meet.
Despite the pressure on developing countries to announce when their emissions will peak, Ramesh is confident India should not sign a peaking year agreement. India owes a responsibility, not to the world, but to itself — that is the official stand days before the climate change talks open in Copenhagen. “Forget Copenhagen. Forget the world….. we are going to Copenhagen with a positive frame of mind,” Ramesh reiterated.
Though the minister’s posturing did make for good headlines, what he left unsaid was more relevant. By not spelling out what India is expecting the western world to bring on to the negotiating table, he did not go too far in signaling what the country might see as a ‘good deal’. Doing that might have been more ‘positive’ than a mere announcement of the obvious.
India’s stand of not wanting to be a ‘deal breaker’ will be seen in the right light only if the government reflects at Copenhagen what it is claiming to be armed with — flexibility. On why and how India would benefit from being part of a climate deal, we have heard the view of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.
Let’s look at a deal first, is what India seems to be saying at present, and we will take if further from there. Till then, where’s the need for a commitment?