More than 800 NGO representatives walk out of the climate talks

The developed countries must step up to the plate to come true on their existing commitments to fight climate change, said Jayanthi Natarajan, Indian Environment Minister, while addressing the U.N. climate negotiations.

“There is a huge ambition gap between what developed country have pledged and what is required by science and their historical responsibilities. The irony is that developing countries have pledged much more than developed countries in pre-2020 period,” she said.

“However, in a scenario where we need to do more, not just on mitigation but adaptation, what I hear with dismay is the scaling down of ambition and lowering of targets for emission cuts by some countries. We still have seven years to go for 2020, and we cannot afford to give up the momentum at this point.

Her speech took place the same day on which more than 800 NGO representatives walked out of the climate talks claiming the rich world was not coming true on its obligations and letting corporate interests play up.

Warning that developing countries cannot be expected to do more while the rich countries slip away from their existing obligations, she said, “I would like to underline that it is not conceivable that we can get high post-2020 ambition through low pre-2020 ambition. High ambition is the bedrock for 2015 outcome.”

The rich countries had committed two years ago to increase their emission reduction targets in the short run, provide U.S. $100 billion annually by 2020 and resolve issues of technology transfer. But since then most developed countries, including the U.S. and EU have refused to increase their emission reduction targets to the levels recommended by the UN scientific panel on climate change. They have also changed stance to say that U.S. $100 billion pledge should not be primarily public funds but more private investments for which developing countries should create the right investment regimes.

She also took on the U.S., without naming it, for pushing its industrial interests in the name of asking for action on climate change, such as in the case of refrigeration gases, HFCs. “The issue should not be seen from a business perspective of providing markets to domestic companies. We can’t take a leap of faith without knowing the exact path and the pitfalls. It is time that we had honest dialogue instead of raising the rhetoric,” she said.

In the backdrop of rich countries blocking progress in the negotiations and trying to postpone discussions on their obligations, she said, “Equity is the route to higher ambition. We must fill the gaps this year at Warsaw and not tomorrow, not after the talks here in Poland.”