India on Thursday announced 20-25 per cent carbon emission intensity cuts by 2020 on the 2005 levels. This would be done through a series of measures including mandatory fuel efficiency standards for all vehicles, a compulsory green building code and switching over to clean coal technology.

Announcing this in the Lok Sabha following a four-hour debate here, Minister of State for Environment and Forests (Independent charge), Jairam Ramesh said if the nations arrived at a “comprehensive and equitable agreement,” India would be willing to do more but only through voluntary measures.

Reiterating that India would never agree to any legally binding emission cuts or accept any agreement that stipulated a *peaking' year for carbon emission, he, however, said India was willing to be a “little flexible” depending on the concessions it would get for its mitigation actions, by way of technology and finance from developed nations.

“Our basic negotiating point is our low per capita income but if India wants to lead the developing nations, we have to offer something during negotiations,” he said, adding “India stood for a comprehensive, equitable agreement.

”Not too hopeful of an agreement at the summit beginning next week in the Danish capital, he said India would work overtime with like-minded countries like China, Brazil and South Africa. But he went on to say that India had to “engage with everybody else.”

“Just because we are members of G-77 does not mean we cannot talk to the U.S., or every time we talk to the U.S. does not mean we are selling the country.

”The emission intensity reduction target has been arrived at by the Planning Commission, which conducted a variety of exercises.

Mr. Ramesh said between 1990 and 2005, emission intensity in the country had gone down by 17.6 per cent, even as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and population had gone up. “But this cannot be the only negotiating point. The GDP is low because the population is high. The country's single biggest failure in the last 60 years has been that it could not control the birth rate,” he said.

Mr. Ramesh announced that the 12th Five Year Plan would focus on low-carbon strategy for economic growth. Based on the Planning Commission exercises during its Mid-Term Appraisal of the 11th Five Year Plan, the government arrived at the concluded that intensity could be reduced, though the greenhouse gas emissions would continue to increase. “We will do it irrespective of the outcome at Copenhagen,” he said.

He said India was not ready to subject its domestically funded mitigation actions to international review.