Clouds over Cancun: Jairam Ramesh

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has said that the focus at Cancun should be on working towards operationally meaningfully decisions. File photo   | Photo Credit: Gurinder Osan

Minister of State for Environment Jairam Ramesh has said there were some clouds over the Cancun horizon and that he was taken aback by Japan's statement that it was not for a commitment to the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol.

Speaking to journalists here, Mr. Ramesh said the focus should be on working towards operationally meaningfully decisions at Cancun. In the last 15 months, India's approach to climate change negotiations has been governed by three factors — how to protect the country's economic interest and environment agenda, to use climate change as a tool of global diplomacy and consolidate its position on world forums.

During the negotiations next week, he would continue to be guided by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement in May last that although India had not caused global warming, it should be part of the solution.

Critical of the fast-start finance pledge, Mr. Ramesh said it was not fast, had not started and there was no finance. Finance having been a key element of the Copenhagen accord, he hoped, matters would be rectified here. The main focus was on transparency issues and how to push for technology cooperation; were five or six building blocks for an operational set of decisions, he said.

Questioned on the proposed balanced set of decisions, he said it was the definition of balance that was important. Developed countries needed to get serious about fast-start finance. Of the $ 30 billion announced last year, only $ 4 billion had been committed for forestry.

Fast-start funding was very much part of the grand bargain. The United States had committed about $ 1.8 billion, of which $ 400 million was for export credits. Registering disappointment, he said this did not augur well. Already, he said, one of the pillars of the balanced outcome was missing. “We don't want a Cancun version of the Copenhagen accord, which was a useful document,” he said. However, it was not antithetical to a two-track process in which other agreements could be tied up along with negotiations on the Kyoto Protocol.

“The second commitment period for the protocol was essential but until you reach 2012, you will not know,” he said. It was not clear whether Japan's statement was a gambit or had a long-term intent. Any agreement had to be within the ambit of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 10:21:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/Clouds-over-Cancun-Jairam-Ramesh/article15580510.ece

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