R.K. Pachauri, chief of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), on Tuesday expressed optimism over the possibility of a deal at the Copenhagen climate summit following commitments by the U.S. and China.This would put more pressure on India, which needed to quantify the steps it was taking to reduce global warming, Mr. Pachauri told journalists ahead of the Copenhagen meeting which begins next week.
“India is at the crossroads on this issue,” Mr. Pachauri said, while impressing on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to attend the final two days of the December 7-18 climate summit.India should lay its National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) on the table. The Cabinet already cleared the solar mission (one of the eight missions under NAPCC), that should be a part of it, he said. “The NAPCC can be a binding commitment on the part of India as a back-up if other commitments (from industrialised countries) fall in place,'' he added.
Mr. Pachauri agreed that other NAPCC mission plans had not been firmed up yet, but said that if this was done, the reduction in India's GHG intensity could be worked out as an offshoot of the NAPCC. “This will be important, as it will signify that India is a deal maker and not a deal breaker,” he said.
Mr. Pachauri said he believed that U.S. President Barack Obama's announcement that his country would cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 17 per cent by 2020, compared to 2005, and China's announcement that it would reduce the GHG-intensity of its economy by 40-45 per cent by 2020, compared to 2005, would put more pressure on India to come up with similar quantitative commitments.
“The summit also gives us an opportunity to look at India's long-term future,” he said, while advocating strongly for a shift towards renewable energy sources from fossil fuels. “India must bargain at Copenhagen for large-scale resources to finance its solar mission,” Mr. Pachauri said.
He laid down three criteria for success at Copenhagen — first, a collective emission reduction target by industrialised countries by 2020 which, he said, would be “good if it was 20 per cent”; second, financial assistance to developing countries to cope with climate change effects; and third, transfer of green technologies cheap, perhaps through a technology fund.