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Updated: December 27, 2009 10:58 IST

We agreed to live to fight another day: Saran

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Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Climate Change Shyam Saran. Photo (file): Rajeev Bhatt
The Hindu
Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Climate Change Shyam Saran. Photo (file): Rajeev Bhatt

India has said that the Copenhagen Accord endorses the view that the rich nations have the responsibility to agree to emission reduction cuts but conceded that it also opens a window for the burial of the Kyoto Protocol in the future.

However, it said that future of the Kyoto Protocol, which commits industrialised nations to undertake legally binding emission cuts, depends on the way the post-Copenhagen negotiations are carried out.

“That it opens a window and that possibility is there, of course. But that depends on how we take the negotiations forward,” Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Climate Change Shyam Saran told Karan Thapar on Devil’s Advocate Programme on CNN-IBN.

He was replying to a question on whether the Copenhagen Accord opened a window for a new treaty that would allow the burial of the Kyoto Protocol.

“What I am trying to point out is that in a sense we have agreed that we will live to fight another day,” he said adding that the Copenhagen Accord was “beyond a step forward” in the efforts to tackle climate change.

Mr. Saran said that a major achievement of the Copenhagen talks was that the parties had agreed that the negotiations would continue on the twin tracks of the Bali Action Plan and the Kyoto Protocol.

“We have also at the same time agreed to carry on the negotiations on the basis of Bali Action Plan. It (the negotiations) is not settled yet. The important achievement of developing countries is that they did not allow this saga to end (at Copenhagen),” Mr. Saran said.

The Accord was “taken note of” by the 15th Conference of Parties at their extended meeting in the Danish capital on December 19.

“I would say it (Accord) is beyond a step forward because here you have an Accord which touched upon all the major outstanding issues...and in a sense represented a very broad consensus of the global community,” Mr. Saran said.

The Kyoto Protocol cannot be forgotten or buried “for the simple reason that it is a valid legal instrument,” he said of the 1997 pact that mandates the rich nations to take up legally binding emissions while exempting the developed nations from doing so.

Mr. Saran said at the moment all the nations have agreed that Kyoto Protocol must remain and “we should continue the talks on that track“.

“The battle (between developed and developing nations on emission cuts) is not settled yet. The Accord has not exempted the developed countries from legally binding emission cuts and even from historical responsibility.

“What Copenhagen has done is to endorse the view that the developed nations have a responsibility to engage in absolute emission reduction while the major developing countries have the responsibility of mitigating the rise in their emission,” he added.

In the absence of consensus at the two-week meet which concluded on December 19 in the Danish capital, world leaders will have to work to achieve a global legally binding climate change treaty at the next annual UN ministerial talks in Mexico in December 2010.

Saran, who was India’s lead negotiator at the summit, defended the government’s stand of agreeing to the provision of “international consultation and analysis” in the Accord and asserted that “it will in no way affect India’s sovereignty.”

“What we have agreed to is consultation and analysis according to agreed guidelines which must not violate any nation’s sovereignty,” he said noting that the Western nations were pushing for more harsher actions by trying to incorporate words like review and verification in the document.

Mr. Saran made it clear that “we will consult in terms of whatever we have put forward as information on our action (on climate change) and if there is some doubt on data then we are ready to give them (to the developed world).

In fact, he said at the hectic negotiations at the climate meet, “what we were worried about was the kind of review which would look at the adequacy of our mitigation efforts.

“But we should not have any difficulty in terms of transparency of our actions so whatever we are giving for instance to Parliament as information or whatever targets we have undertaken.”

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