India and China have both agreed to be listed in the chapeau, or introductory text, of the Copenhagen Accord, implying that both nations participated in the negotiations that produced the document and that they stand by it.
Informing Parliament of the government's communication to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on Tuesday, Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said that India placed three conditions on its decision. India has decided to stand by the Accord on the conditions that it is a political document, which is not legally binding or a template for outcomes, and that it is used as an input for the UN's two-track negotiating process, rather than as a third outside track of discussion.
The Accord is a political agreement negotiated by the heads of State of 29 countries at the U.N. climate change talks held in December. While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese premier Wen Jiabao were in the room when the Accord was crafted, both countries have not been keen on allowing their names to be used in the chapeau till now, as it was not adopted by the entire conference. In fact, when the president of the Copenhagen conference made the request in January, India had refused.
The UNFCCC secretariat itself repeated the request on February 3. The U.S. has made no secret of its desire to get the major developing countries on board as well. After “careful consideration,” India informed the U.N. body on Monday night that it would agree to the listing. China made the same communication on Tuesday.
"We believe that our decision to be listed reflects the role India played in giving shape to the Copenhagen Accord. This will strengthen our negotiating position on climate change,” Mr. Ramesh told the Lok Sabha.
Under the Accord, India has said it would endeavour to reduce the emissions intensity of GDP by 20 to 25 per cent by 2020, in comparison to 2005 levels. These are voluntary domestic commitments to action without any legal binding, the government has emphasised.