India to play ‘bridge’ role at Cancun: Jairam Ramesh

Thursday, November 25, 2010

NEW DELHI - With climate change talks at Cancun next week expected to get stuck on some contentious issues between developing and developed countries, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh Thursday said that India will act as a “bridge” between the two sides.

India’s approach at Cancun is to find the middle ground on contentious issues between the developed and developing countries as the time of posturing is over but time to look for solution. India is positioning itself as a bridge player between developing and developed countries. We need to be practical and cannot remain frozen and should engage with all countries as part of our foreign policy, said Ramesh during a workshop on climate change here.

Against the background of failed promises made at Copenhagen by the US and other developed countries, India is going to Cancun handicapped with key bargain element completely missing, he said.

“The bargain between BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) countries and US at Copenhagen was availability of fast track finance to the amount of $30 billion during 2010-2012 and in return, developing countries will internationalise their domestic mitigation measures,” he said.

“At the end of one year we have some $7 billion and the US contribution, which is the richest and historically the highest emitter, is only $ 1.8 billion. It is a laughable number,” Ramesh said.

The minister said that there is no hope to get more funds following growing financial crisis in PIGS (Poland, Ireland, Greece and Spain).

Asked what can be expected at the climate change talks scheduled in Cancun from Nov 29-Dec 10, Ramesh said: “There is not much hope and no legally binding treaty is expected from Cancun.

“Realistic outcome at Cancun won’t be an agreement… not even a framework of agreement but a set of decision endorsed by 190 UN countries which will provide the road map for finalising a final agreement or set of agreements at climate change talks at Durban in 2011″.

The building blocks of Cancun will be issues related to forestry, finance, technology transfer, adaptation and MRV/ICA (measurement, reporting and verification/international consultations and analysis).

Ramesh said things on which a agreement is expected are establishment of a green fund, agreement on meeting adaptation needs, endorsement of Redd (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), on transparency issue of MRV/ICA.

“India is looking forward to two issues - establishment of technology transfer mechanism in area of adaptation to climate change and MRV/ICA for internationalising domestic mitigation measure.”

He said the US proposal of 17 percent reduction of emission by 2020 with base year of 2005 is “homeopathic” as actually the level will only be down 3 percent from 1990 level.

“We should not be defensive and negotiate with open mind. We will take debate to a point and if it hurts our national interest we won’t agree to it,” he said.

On the second commitment period for Kyoto Protocol, Ramesh said it is non-negotiable but US is saying it won’t accept until China takes some emission cuts and China says it won’t until Europe takes it “so we are revolving in a circle.

Kyoto Protocol is the only legal document which talks about emission cuts by developed countries. Its time frame ends by 2012.

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