Opposition to special session on emission cuts

November 13, 2013 02:06 am | Updated May 26, 2016 07:14 am IST - Warsaw:

Several developing countries, including India, have opposed the call for all countries to provide emission reduction pledges at a special session of heads of state in September 2014.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for the special session of world leaders ahead of the finalisation in 2015 of a climate agreement under the existing U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in an attempt to provide political momentum to one of the most difficult international negotiations.

Mr. Ban, while announcing the world summit, said: “I challenge you to bring to the summit bold pledges. Innovate, scale-up, cooperate and deliver concrete action that will close the emissions gap and put us on track for an ambitious legal agreement through the UNFCCC process.”

The summit plan has been opposed by several countries in internal parleys at Warsaw though they have not formally expressed their disagreement yet. A first indication that the UNSG’s invitation had not found favour came in an indirectly targeted intervention by the Like-Minded Developing Countries which includes India and China.

They said, “What we have agreed in Doha [at the UN talks in 2012] is to review commitments and enhance the ambition of the Annex I parties [developed countries] under Kyoto Protocol. We need to know as a first step by how much the ambition levels are being increased. Consequently, we will call for the 2014 review on commitments being undertaken first by Annex I before we move to the post-2020 period.”

In other words, the LMDC group has demanded that the developed countries, which had promised to look at greater emission reduction commitments in the short run between now and 2020, keep their word. At the negotiations last year, the countries had decided that a review would be undertaken on the commitments made under the Kyoto Protocol made then and if the commitments of the developed countries are found short they would be expected to do more.

“There are several reasons for not taking the pledges to the UNSG’s summit,” said a negotiator from the LMDC group. “We will not know the shape of the agreement right now and it is premature to put commitments under an agreement that does not have a basic shape and form. Under the UN convention, the actions or pledges of the developing world are to be enabled by the provision of finance and technology from the developed countries. In which case how can developing countries commit targets without knowing how much funds and technology the rich countries are prepared to provide,” she said.

An Indian delegate at Warsaw climate negotiations said, “The developed countries are mandated to take the lead in fighting climate change. They agreed that after a review of their climate actions for the period up to 2020 to be carried out in 2014 their pledges for the short term could be increased. Instead they are asking all the countries to pledge for the post-2020 period next year. That will provide low ambitious levels for emission reductions in the short run. This will only increase the burden on all and especially on the developing countries in future and delay action right now.”

Data shows that EU has already almost achieved the target it volunteered to achieve to cut emissions by 2020. The US emission targets too are considered very negligible but were generally welcomed as they ensured that the U.S., which till then had refused to take any action, had at least come on board the climate talks.

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