The U.S. is not in a position to play the “leadership role” in tackling climate change as the political and economic situation in the country is not in the most stable condition, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has said.

“The United States is going through a difficult financial time...the economy is not doing well...the politics is uncertain, there is no legislation in sight...executive action has not been forthcoming,” said Mr. Ramesh, following a Major Economies Forum (MEF) meeting in New York.

“So the leadership role that the U.S. could have played and should have played is not forthcoming,” he told PTI.

The countries attending the two-day MEF meeting are Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, and the U.S.

The first day of the MEF revolved around analysing what would be the likely outcomes of the climate change conference at Cancun, Mexico, according to Mr. Ramesh, who pointed out that the discussions tended to be “circuitous“.

The Europeans will not do anything until the Americans do something...the Americans will not do anything until the Chinese do something...and we go round the merry-go-round,” he said.

The intense disagreements between different countries at the climate conference in Copenhagen, last year, led to a non-binding “Copenhagen Accord“.

At this stage, it seems unlikely that Cancun will produce a legally binding treaty to combat climate change, and it’s unclear how long it will take governments to reach an agreement.

“This top-down approach seems to have serious problems but ultimately we may be forced into a situation where nations make commitments and they stand behind those commitments and there must be a way of reflecting domestic commitments in an international agreement,” Mr. Ramesh said.

As part of its National Action Plan on Climate Change, New Delhi is pursuing unilateral voluntary mitigation actions, which include the decision to reduce carbon intensity by 20 to 25 per cent by 2020 compared with 2005 levels.