India’s environment minister urged the world’s developed countries to call his nation’s ‘bluff’ and sign on to steeper cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions.
India and China would have to “respond very positively” if rich nations such as the U.S. agreed to a goal of cutting emissions 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020, Jairam Ramesh said in an interview yesterday in Beijing, where he met with Xie Zhenhua, China’s top climate-change negotiator.
“That’s a game changer,” Ramesh said. “It would be very difficult for me, as an Indian minister, not to respond if developed countries accept this proposal. The fat would be in the fire, our bluff would be called.”
India and China want developed countries to bear most of the burden of reducing carbon emissions, saying caps on global warming-causing pollution would unfairly crimp growth. The world’s two fastest-expanding major economies are key to a successful outcome for the Copenhagen conference in December, where an expected 192 nations will meet to replace the Kyoto Protocol. The existing accord, which sets emission targets for developed nations, expires in 2012.
Meeting India’s negotiating stance would entail an overhaul of climate-change laws in developed countries. In the U.S., legislation passed by the House sets the goal of a 17 percent reduction from 2005 levels by 2020.
Should developed countries agree to India’s stance, which Chinese Foreign Ministry climate-change official Yu Qingtai earlier this month called “quite fair,” India and China would have to “respond very positively,” Ramesh said.
Both India and China want an agreement at Copenhagen and shouldn’t be viewed as a “negative or obstructionist force,” Ramesh said.
“Both of us were of the view that we should be part of the solution,” Ramesh said. “We want an agreement in Copenhagen.”
India and China are looking for developed countries to share more carbon-reducing technologies with poorer nations and help finance projects, Ramesh said.
“For us, climate change is not just an environmental issue, for us, climate change is a development issue,” he said.
Xie, a vice minister of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, said Aug. 24 that “the focus of disagreement remains on each country’s proportion of responsibility for emissions reductions, funding and technology transfer,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
Money and Technology
Emerging economies, including India, have said they need access to funds and technologies such as wind turbines to meet emission curbs and sustain growth.
India requires $5 billion a year between 2012 and 2017, in addition to its current investment plans, to support a transition to low-carbon energy generation, the United Nations Development Program said in its Human Development Report 2007/2008, citing research by the Energy and Resources Institute.
Ramesh said he and Xie discussed when their two nations’ carbon emissions would peak. Last week, China released a report from government-run research groups estimating that the country’s emissions would peak by 2030. The report also recognized that China had surpassed the U.S. to become the world’s biggest producer of greenhouse gases.
The government in Beijing says it is increasing energy efficiency and promoting the use of renewable power to cut the amount of energy it consumes per unit of gross domestic product 20 percent by 2010 from 2005 levels.
India says it has one of the lowest carbon emissions per capita in the world and is responsible for 4 percent of the total while the U.S. accounts for 20 percent. The South Asian country is the fourth-largest emitter of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, trailing China, the U.S. and Russia.
Developed countries must bear “historic responsibility” for industrial emissions of greenhouse gases they have produced, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on July 7. “It is the developing countries that are the worst affected by climate change.”
China and India will announce a “major agreement” today to jointly study whether climate change is causing Himalayan glaciers to recede, Ramesh said.
To contact Bloomberg News staff on this story: Michael Forsythe in Beijing at +86-10-6649-7580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Return to the list <<<<<