India not a deal-breaker: Jayanthi Natarajan

U.N. climate talks on Saturday remained deadlocked as negotiations among 194 nations spilled over to an extra day amid wrangling over crucial issues, including the need for India, China and the United States to agree to a legally-binding pact to cut carbon emissions to combat global warming.

On late Saturday afternoon, the unscheduled 13th day of the 12-day U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) summit, chances of a deal had receded, given the pressure of the clock and an agonisingly slow process to untangle a “jumble” of issues.

India, along with U.S. and China, is under pressure to accept a legally-binding treaty proposed by the EU, which would be signed by 2015 and come into force by 2020.

Ministers from the key countries, including Minister of Environment and Forest Jayanthi Natarajan, were huddled into a small room at the conference centre. They were allowed one aide inside.

Indian negotiators were seen frequently coming and going out of the room wearing tense expressions.

Asserting that equity has to be centrepiece of climate talks, India on Saturday slammed developed nations for not doing enough to combat global warming as it made an “emotional” appeal for space for basic development for its 1.2 billion people and poverty eradication.

In the midst of growing criticism, Ms. Natarajan told delegates that India — which is being seen as a “deal-breaker” for not agreeing to the a binding treaty — was not holding up the climate talks.

“I was astonished and disturbed by the comments of my colleague from Canada who was pointing at us as to why we are against the roadmap,” she said. “I am disturbed to find that a legally binding protocol to the Convention, negotiated just 14 years ago is now being junked in a cavalier manner.”

“Countries which had signed and ratified it are walking away without even a polite goodbye,” she said. “And yet, pointing at others.”

Ms, Natarajan's strong words received huge applause and a standing ovation on a day when India was described as a stumbling block to the talks here.

“It is a factual statement, it is an emotional statement,” the Minister told reporters later.

The EU Roadmap is backed by the Alliance of Small Island States, which wants the treaty to come into force as early as next year. The island nations are especially vulnerable to the rising sea levels and have been pushing for China and India to accept carbon emission cuts.