India-US narrow down differences on climate pact

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:03 pm IST

Published - December 10, 2015 08:11 pm IST - Paris

As the Paris talks on climate change moved into the final round to produce a "clean text" for consideration on Friday, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar went into an hour-long huddle with the US Secretary of State John Kerry at the CoP21 venue to sort out contentious issues. This is the second such meeting between them here.

The bilateral discussions on the Paris Agreement produced "many converging points", notably on India's demand that developing countries be differentiated explicitly from the developed world in the text of the pact, as provided for in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

"The meeting was productive, and our negotiating teams are working on the language and issues. We are hopeful," Mr. Javadekar told the media later. The major points covered by the discussions were differentiation, the nature of the agreement, finance and technology transfer, and harmony between the Agreement text and the the 'decision' that will be made by CoP21. Transparency measures in implementation, which will be laid down for all countries to follow in a prescribed manner, also figured in the talks.

"We are the most transparent country, we have the RTI Act, we keep everything in the public domain," was the Minister's response on the issue.

India also wants the sanctity of voluntary national pledges to reduce carbon emissions, called INDCs, to be maintained in the agreement. It was unacceptable that when 186 countries had submitted their INDC, representing a huge movement forward, there was only one optional mention of such pledges in the outcome draft released on Wednesday. "We are concerned that it should not go," he said. If Europe and America adopt ideas which are in sync with the Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) and the Brazil, South Africa, India, China (BASIC) group, the Paris Agreement can successfully move ahead.

Technology, IPR costs

India's IPR import bill highlights the importance of technology transfer to fight climate change without rigid Intellectual Property Rights restrictions. In a six year period, 21 billion dollars has been spent, representing total Indian expenditure on all kinds of technology, not climate change, according to Mr. Javadekar.

In Wednesday's outcome draft, one Article is devoted to Technology Development and Transfer. However, it does not yet have a fully fleshed out mechanism by which developing countries can get assured funding.

On the issue of ambition on an aggressive climate target, a dominant theme at CoP21 due to high profile protests and the demand from small island states, India's position remains unchanged : that it is not opposed to the 1.5 degrees target, but there has to be action towards achieving it. It entails more effort than what is needed for 2 degrees. "Naturally, developed country parties will to take need more action," the Minister said, urging the West to agree to liberal finance for climate-friendly development and transfer of technology.

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