Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha expressed their dissatisfaction with the Copenhagen Accord on climate change, the contours of which were described in a suo motu statement made by Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday.

Describing the accord as “disappointing,” Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley said there was complete repugnancy between the obligations under the Copenhagen Accord and the Kyoto Protocol. “Word by word, phrase by phrase the language of the UNFCCC, Bali Action Plan and Kyoto Protocol stands diluted. Obviously, the Copenhagen Accord is the one which will prevail.”

Equating the accord to the Sharm-el-Sheikh joint statement between India and Pakistan, he said the government was trying to interpret the agreement differently by engaging in spin doctoring.

He said Mr. Ramesh had assured Parliament that India would not accept peaking year commitments, yet the accord has a clear obligation to fix a peaking year. The Minister contradicted this in his reply saying no date had been fixed.

Mr. Jaitley said despite commitments to the contrary, the accord also leaves a reasonable amount of ambiguity allowing for developed countries to argue in the next round of negotiations that India had agreed to international verification and monitoring of mitigation actions. “Agreeing to international consultations and analysis under guidelines -- that were yet to be framed -- was entering an area of conflict and trade sanctions.”

Calling the Copenhagen Accord a “compromised document,” CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said, “we have opened up windows for the possible jettisoning of the Kyoto Protocol.”

Questioning what was being done to ensure legally binding conditions in the Kyoto Protocol for developed countries, he said they were allowed to get away with it.

The international consultation and analysis of our mitigation actions, which India has accepted, is a reframing of measures for reporting and verification. “Any country they [the developed nations] feel is violating, will face trade sanctions,” he said.

Mr. Yechury described the financial commitments under the accord as woolly, and said the Intellectual Property Rights regime on transfer technology was effectively negated in the accord.

CPI’s D. Raja described the Accord as a “disappointment” and “no step forward and several steps backward.” The accord is an attempt to kill the Kyoto Protocol, he said.

Seeking to allay apprehensions, Mr. Ramesh said Copenhagen was not a destination but the beginning of a long process. “There are indeed many risks, many hazards, and many threats. We have to be extraordinarily vigilant and watchful, negotiating tough but always from a position of strength.”

“Undoubtedly, many developed countries want to see an end to the Kyoto Protocol, but we have been able to thwart these attempts for the time being,” he added.

RELATED NEWS

Sovereignty not compromised: JairamDecember 22, 2009