The article, “Hard choices at Copenhagen” (June 17), provided riveting details of the nerve-racking and edge-of-the-seat negotiations at the 2009 Climate Change Conference. It was astonishing to read that semantic quibbling over the choice of words can make or mar international treaties. In the end, it appeared that leaders wanted to clinch a deal that would convince the world that everybody was serious about climate change, by obfuscating the fact that nobody wanted to commit action on anything. The text of the final agreement is as vague as it can be. The inclusion of expressions like “international consultations and analysis” and “respect for national sovereignty” ensured that the world could continue in a business-as-usual mode till the next climate conference.

Notwithstanding the article’s self-congratulatory tone, the services of Mr. Jairam Ramesh should be utilised in future climate negotiations on account of his hard bargaining skills if not for his ability to crunch the text with felicitous ambiguity!

V.N. Mukundarajan,


The article was a eulogy by the writer to the writer himself! He claims that “the Obama-BASIC meeting was a watershed.” What did it achieve as far as reversing climate change is concerned? When the conference was held, the CO level was 385 ppm. In 2013, it reached 400 ppm, a level that will not allow the Greenland ice sheet and the Arctic ice to remain as ice. And we are now experiencing the dire consequences of climate change in the form of cloudbursts, truant monsoons, crop failures, flash floods and droughts.

The article is a reminder of the true attitude of the U.S. on the issue. Finally, it showed that Mr. Ramesh should learn that “if there is any hope for the world at all, it does not live in climate-change conference rooms. It lives low down on the ground, with its arms around the people who go to battle every day to protect their forests, their mountains and their rivers because they know that the forests, the mountains and the rivers protect them.”

Sukumaran C.V.,


Great comeback

The Schumacher-Ferrari team was an explosive combination that set every Formula One racetrack on fire. His greatest comeback, after a medical setback, has been possible only because of the state-of-the-art, round-the-clock medical care that was provided to him and the great man’s level of fitness. Courage is indeed Michael Schumacher’s middle name.

C.V. Venugopalan,


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