While India could play a “constructive part” at the Copenhagen negotiations on climate change that will take place in December, it cannot accept mandatory emission limits, according to Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In an opinion piece that is appearing this week in the journal Nature, the head of the international body that assesses the scientific evidence on climate change said that India expected a “strong agreement” to come out of the United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen. The country was very vulnerable to the effects of climate change, he pointed out. “We need a more constructive spirit between developed and developing countries if we are to reach an effective agreement in Copenhagen,” remarked Dr. Pachauri, who is also director-general of The Energy and Resources Institute in Delhi and director of the Yale Climate and Energy Institute in the U.S.

“To achieve this, the leadership of developed nations must convince their public on the principles and scientific realities under which they will take proactive commitments. At the same time, major emerging economies such as India should not hesitate to put forward their own national action plans as part of global efforts, and which would help them achieve sustainable development.” Dr. Pachauri took the view that “as a matter of principle, India will firmly dismiss demands from developed nations that their proposed emissions cuts should, in any way, be contingent on rapidly developing economies, such as India and China, committing themselves to emissions limits before 2020.”

India’s Prime Minister had released the National Action Plan on Climate Change in June. The plan focused on achieving a pattern of sustainable development while dealing comprehensively with the challenge of climate change, he pointed out.

In order to demonstrate the India’s seriousness towards shared action, it could, at an appropriate stage of the negotiations, offer the plan as part of a global package of commitments, suggested Dr. Pachauri. However, “in Copenhagen, India should reject any imposition of measures for verification of goals achieved under the [National Action Plan], but might agree to annual international reporting,” he added.

Without the development and transfer of low-carbon technologies, developing countries would continue to emulate the emissions-intensive growth patterns of the developed world.

“But alongside well-defined intellectual property rights, technological innovation can be created through partnerships between developed and developing countries at much lower cost than if these were driven solely by the developed world,” said Dr. Pachauri.

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