Developing countries could not compromise on development to check climate change, but as responsible members of the global community, these nations, including India, must do their bit to keep their emissions within the sustainable and equitable levels, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Thursday.

Inaugurating the Delhi High Level Conference on ‘Climate Change: Technology Development and Transfer’ here, Dr. Singh said he had no doubt that if the developed countries made serious efforts to keep their per capita emissions within the tolerable levels, they would direct large resources towards research. This would generate a surge in technology, making it easier for other countries to follow suit.

Dr. Singh pointed out that with its gross domestic product (GDP) rising, India’s energy use and total emissions would rise unless new technology enabled it to increase energy efficiency and reduce the intensity of emissions. India’s per capita emission would never exceed the average of the per capita emissions of the developed countries. “Equating greenhouse gas emissions across nations on a per capita basis is the only just and fair basis for a long-term arrangement on climate change, which is truly equitable.”

Reiterating India’s commitment to find a “comprehensive, balanced and equitable” outcome at Copenhagen under the provisions of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Bali Action Plan, Dr. Singh said India was doing whatever possible in its limited capacity to curb carbon emissions.

“India will adopt purposive domestic actions to enhance its climate change management. … Our efforts will be targeted towards achieving time-bound outcomes related to the energy efficiency of our economy, the share of renewables,” he said.

Suggesting that technology and its diffusion should be the key elements in meeting the challenge of climate change, he said the key issue was developing appropriate technologies and then condensing the time from their commercialisation to their large-scale adoption in poor countries.

“We need technology solutions that are appropriate, affordable and truly effective. These have to be backed by the establishment of appropriate financial arrangements to facilitate technology transfers.” The U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change should play a leading role in directing effective and collaborative actions in this vital area.

Calling for continuing incentives for adoption of climate friendly technologies in developing countries in the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, the Prime Minister said these should be viewed as global public goods.

This meant that the intellectual property rights regime applied to those goods should balance rewards for innovators with the need to promote the common good of humankind. Suitable mechanisms must be found to provide incentives for developing new technologies while facilitating their deployment in developing countries at affordable costs.

India proposed an international network of Climate Innovation Centres, which should act as vehicles for enhancing technology innovation and capacity-building in developing countries. These centres, Dr. Singh, said could identify locally relevant key technologies and support their successful and faster development and deployment.

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