P. S. Suryanarayana

No greenhouse gas reduction targets for the developing bloc

“The U.S. has [now] come on board”

Developing world committed to enhanced responsibilities

SINGAPORE: Demonstrating an “exceptional” degree of cooperation and coordination with China, India has been able to fashion “the Bali road map” on global climate change issues.

Indicating this, Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal, who led the Indian delegation at the just-concluded Bali conference, told The Hindu here on Sunday night that the “foundation” of the “road map” was the “unity of the Group of 77.”

Asked whether the G-77 unity was made possible by India and China seeing eye-to-eye with each other, Mr. Sibal said: “Absolutely. Without doubt. And, we took care of the concerns of the various shades within the developing world itself.”

India and China “were constantly together and took positions together,” he emphasised. “There were some differences within the developing world but we ultimately decided that this is an issue in which all of us must move together.”

A key aspect of “the Bali roadmap” was that no targets of greenhouse gas reductions were made applicable to the developing bloc at this stage.

“There are commitments for the developed world, responsibilities for the developing world.” India was “absolutely” able to sustain its position on global warming issues, he said.

On the way forward, Mr. Sibal said “a low-carbon economy is ultimately the answer” at not only the global level but also the national turfs of developing countries as well.

Answering questions, he said the Japanese idea of “Cool Earth 50,” or global-scale halving of greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050, gained no acceptance. Nor was there any discussion in Bali on “aspirational goals” and “caps” on emissions. But, he said, “the one significant thing that has happened is that the United States has [now] come on board, committed for mitigation of emissions… under their national programme because they have not ratified [the] Kyoto Protocol.” Noting that the Western countries were expected to look for a new agreement, with the objective, perhaps, of roping in what they call as major emitters,” he said “that, somehow, has not emerged from Bali.”

Another development at the Bali meet“is that the major developing countries are also committed, not in terms of commitment of reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases but certainly [in terms of] enhanced responsibilities in the context of combating global warming.” These, he noted, would be “responsibilities in terms of national mitigation programmes which are reportable, measurable, and verifiable.” This, he emphasised, “is a big step forward, because the word ‘verifiable’ has not been used ever in climate-change debate.

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