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Updated: December 22, 2009 09:50 IST

‘Operationalising Climate accord difficult’

Aarti Dhar
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Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh at the Parliament House in New Delhi on Monday. Photo: PTI
PTI Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh at the Parliament House in New Delhi on Monday. Photo: PTI

Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh had told Parliament that unsupported actions would not be open for international monitoring, reporting and verification but the progress would be tabled in Parliament

India has “substantially” preserved its development space under the Copenhagen Accord at the just-concluded United Nations climate summit, but operationalising the agreement would be “extremely difficult and contentious,” India’s negotiator for climate change Prodipto Ghosh said here on Monday.

The clause on international consultation and analysis of unsupported mitigation actions by the countries — for which the guidelines are yet to be finalised — would be the most difficult task, Mr. Ghosh, a former Union Environment and Forests Secretary said.

Mr. Ghosh told The Hindu that the accord was a process that would continue through the next year and culminate in Mexico City at the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. “We have substantially managed to preserve our development space. But before the accord is operationalised, there will be some hard negotiations on several aspects agreed upon by the countries.”

The most difficult and contentious task will be the finalisation of guidelines for the international consultation and analysis of the mitigation actions, which will now be drafted while “respecting national sovereignty,” Mr. Ghosh pointed out.

Since developing countries, including India, had refused to accept international monitoring, reporting and verification of unsupported mitigation actions -- though it was willing to be “flexible” -- the accord states that actions by developing countries that were not supported through international finance and technology would also be open to international “consultation and analysis.”

Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh had told Parliament that unsupported actions would not be open for international monitoring, reporting and verification but the progress would be tabled in Parliament and information on such projects provided through a national communication mechanism.

Another negotiator, Rajni Ranjan Rashmi, said India’s concerns on non-binding emission cuts were met at Copenhagen though the climate deal did open a window for a new legal treaty that may kill the Kyoto Protocol based on the principle of equity.

Speaking to a news agency here, Mr. Rashmi, Joint Director in the Ministry of Environment and Forests, rejected allegations that India succumbed to the U.S. pressure at the meet. “Equity has been ensured by limiting temperature level to 2 degree Celsius, which has been agreed upon by all the nations, both developing and the developed,” he said.

The official, while admitting that it was not a win-win situation for India, said there were positives and negatives in the deal. “No binding commitments have been imposed upon the developing nations.”

On the downside, the treaty had opened windows for a new legal treaty that may result in the burial of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, Mr. Rashmi said of the limited agreement reached. Asked whether the U.S. could challenge emerging economies such as India and China on climate steps, he said the deal was not a legal document and Washington, or for that matter the developed nations, cannot scrutinise domestic mitigation and adaptation steps.

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