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Manmohan: need for bold commitments on emission cuts

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CAMARADERIE: R.K. Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (left) with Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh at the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit on Friday.
CAMARADERIE: R.K. Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (left) with Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh at the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit on Friday.

Special Correspondent

“India will negotiate in a spirit of flexibility”

NEW DELHI: The Copenhagen Accord may have failed to meet global expectations but, according to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, “a modest accord that is fully implemented may be better than an ambitious one that falls seriously short of its targets.”

This is the lesson that was learnt with regard to the Kyoto Protocol, Dr. Singh said, addressing the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) on Friday.

“It is important to ensure that we deliver what we promise to do. An ambitious agreement that is observed only in the breach will discredit the whole process.”

The Copenhagen Accord is a political statement with voluntary commitments to cut or limit greenhouse gas emissions that emerged out of the United Nations climate talks in the Danish capital in December 2009.

The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, which obligates all developed nations except the U.S. to cut emissions, ends in 2012, but most nations have fallen far short of their commitments.

Dr. Singh made it clear that the Copenhagen Accord could not be a substitute for the Kyoto Protocol and other long-term cooperative action being negotiated under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, but must complement that process.

The lack of a global consensus on how to share the burden of cutting emissions was the biggest barrier to a final deal, he said, urging rich nations to make bolder commitments in terms of emission reduction as well as financial and technical support to developing countries.

India would take part in the negotiations “in a spirit of flexibility.” It would also meet its commitments to reduce emissions intensity by 20-25 per cent by 2020. The National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency would soon be launched to unlock the $15-billion energy efficiency market. The initiative would reduce carbon emissions by almost 99 million tonnes, Dr. Singh said.

The DSDS, organised by The Energy and Research Institute, is an annual event that brings together policymakers and stakeholders. This year’s theme — “Beyond Copenhagen: new pathways to sustainable development” — has attracted a large number of world leaders and negotiators.

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