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Jairam Ramesh betrayed India’s stand on climate change

Making its first formal statement on India’s new and altered climate change position, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Jaitley on Friday charged that Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh in fact rubbished India’s consistent position on climate the subject so far and “endorsed the principle put forward by the developed world.”

India given in to the “bandwagon effect,” following China in announcing voluntary cuts in carbon emission intensity, not caring about the fact that China’s per capita emissions were far higher than India’s. Mr. Jaitley said in any case it was “bad negotiating strategy” to announce “unilateral concessions before multilateral negotiations” without waiting to see what the approach of the developed countries would be.

Mr. Jaitley found fault with the Minister’s response to the climate change debate in the Lok Sabha on Thursday where he made the announcement that India would unilaterally reduce its carbon emission intensity by 20 to 25 per cent by 2020. He said this was the result of succumbing to various pressure groups, but stopped short of accusing the country of giving in to pressure from western countries, specifically the United States.

He was also sceptical of Mr. Ramesh saying he wanted India to have “flexibility” and wondered whether this really meant giving in to the position of developed countries which have always remained critical of the equitable per capita emissions stand taken by India in the past. “Earlier India’s position was that our emissions per capita would not exceed the per capita emissions of the developed countries, while now the government was talking about India’s per capita emissions remaining less than those of developed countries. He strongly questioned the logic of accepting a lower per capita norm.

Mr. Jaitley’s arguments had some contradictions: He first said it was wrong for the Minister to suggest, as he had, that Indian should break away from the G-77 group of countries in relation to stance to be taken at the Climate Change conference in Copenhagen, but after it was pointed out that China and Brazil and some other countries had announced some voluntary cuts, Mr. Jaitley said India should not be afraid of being isolated. “Such fear of isolation is imaginary.”

He took strong objection to Mr. Ramesh’s statement that so far India had adopted a “do nothing” approach to climate change which would have a considerable adverse impact on India. The fact was that even according to Mr. Ramesh India had been able to cut its carbon emission intensity by 17.6 per cent between 1990 and 2005. Surely, this would not have been possible if India had done nothing. He said it was wrong of the Minister to “rubbish” efforts put in by previous governments.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 12:49:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Jairam-Ramesh-betrayed-Indiarsquos-stand-on-climate-change/article16851581.ece

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