The Copenhagen accord sparked a heated debate in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. The opposition termed it "disappointing" and "a compromise document." Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said that the accord and the International consultation on climate action it entails won’t hurt the country's sovereignty.

The Copenhagen Accord on Climate Change is no “sell-out” as far as India is concerned, Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh assured the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, in response to the Opposition charge that it compromised the nation’s interests.

The BJP, the CPI(M) and the CPI described the accord as “disappointing” and “several steps backward.”

The Minister admitted that “there has been a shift” in that India agreed to allow a provision for “international consultation and analysis” on its mitigation actions, instead of the pre-conference assurance given to Parliament about “just informing” the UNFCCC about domestic mitigation programmes.

He said the decision to this effect was taken collectively by Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC nations) which did not want to be responsible for the failure of the summit and become “blame boys.” “I plead guilty. I moved from information to consultation. [But] there has to be flexibility.”

The Minister asserted that the accord will in no way affect India’s sovereignty as clear guidelines would be evolved. “The guidelines for such [international] consultations and analysis will be devised and defined in due course. We have been able to incorporate a specific provision that these clearly defined guidelines will ensure that the national sovereignty is respected.”

No intrusive consultation

Responding to apprehensions raised by the Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley (BJP) and Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) on this count, Mr. Ramesh said India would be part of the 194 nations that would evolve the guidelines.

“We will make sure that there will not be intrusive consultation and analysis. When we frame the guidelines we will take Parliament into confidence.”

More In: News | National