The European Union (EU) has offered to help the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) strengthen its quality control system, after the climate science panel was revealed to have made a mistake about the timeline melting of Himalayan glaciers.

Making it clear that the EU fully supported the IPCC, Spain’s Secretary of State for Climate Change Teresa Ribera told journalists that the transparent way the error was dealt with showed the robustness of the system. However, she admitted that “there is always an opportunity to update the processes,” especially as the Panel has grown in the number of partners and in the level of science and research.

“I personally wrote a letter to the chair of the IPCC offering to help update and improve these kinds of controls,” she said. Spain is currently chairing the 27-member European Union’s climate change agenda.

The Europeans have a high-profile presence at the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit being held here this weekend, with three Prime Ministers present at the inaugural function on Friday. Seven environment or climate change Ministers are participating in various panel discussions, apart from a high-level, informal closed-door meeting of negotiators to discuss the way forward to the next large climate change summit at Mexico this December.

Ms. Ribera felt that holding more such informal meetings among small groups could help pave the way for success in Mexico, but the final legally-binding treaty had to come out of the U.N. process.

Paul Magnette, Minister of Climate and Energy in Belgium, which will take over the chairmanship of the EU’s climate council later this year, praised India’s growth story and potential for further economic expansion, using it as his reasoning why India was equipped to take on larger responsibilities in the fight against climate change.

“India is not in the same situation as Bangladesh or Burkina Faso,” said Ms. Ribera, making the case for a division among richer and poorer developing countries.

She made it clear that in Europe’s opinion, the Kyoto Protocol’s stark distinction between developed and developing countries was outdated. “The world has changed. It is no longer black and white…There are not just two compact groups of countries which have to do this [take on mitigation responsibilities] and countries which don’t have to do this. Now there is a recognition that we all need to do something, at different levels,” she said.

India has held the stance that as a developing country, it cannot be bound with legal obligations to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in the fight against climate change. However, it has agreed to take on a voluntary commitment to reduce emissions intensity by 2020.


Climate change and the Copenhagen discord February 10, 2010

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