India against lowering of emission cut targets by developed nations

Warsaw: India today expressed displeasure with "some" developed countries for abandoning the greenhouse gas emission targets set by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and asked the industrialised nations to ratify their pledge for the second commitment period of the treaty.

 India against lowering of emission cut targets by developed nations

Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan.

At the conference of the representative ministers of the 195 countries at the UN Climate Change Conference here, India also took a strong position against the US and the European Union on the issue of phasing out of refrigerant gas Hydroflurocarbons (HFCs), saying that it should be addressed under the UNFCCC.

Addressing the high-level ministerial summit, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said that the developing countries have pledged much more than developed countries in pre-2020 period and any delay in acting on combat climate change will be very costly for the world.

"...In a scenario where we need to do more, not just on mitigation but adaptation, what I hear with dismay is the scaling down of ambition and lowering of targets for emissions cut by some countries. We still have seven years to go for 2020, and we cannot afford to give up the momentum at this point," she said on the penultimate day of the COP 19 conference in the Polish capital.

Natarajan, however, did not name the countries that have ditched pledge to lower emission targets.

Ambition in the climate change context is the voluntary submission of emission cut targets committed by countries.

Natarajan's statement at the UN platform echoed the sentiments of many developing countries against the highly industrialised nations like Japan that have announced cutting its 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reductions target from 25 per cent to just 3.8 per cent based on 2005 figures.

"There is huge ambition gaps between what developed country parties have pledged and what is required by science and their historical responsibilities. The irony is that developing countries have pledged much more than developed in pre-2020 period. Therefore, in keeping with Article 3.1, the developed countries should take the lead in bringing the ambition gap," the Minister said.

India said that it is not "conceivable that we can get high post-2020 ambition through low pre-2020 ambition".

"High ambition is the bedrock for 2015 outcome. I would take this opportunity to urge upon the developed countries to ratify their pledge for second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol. Delay on this count sends a very wrong signal to the world about our commitment to address climate change," Natarajan said.

Speaking on the issue of phasing out HFCs, Natarajan said the issue should not be seen from a business perspective of providing markets to domestic companies.

"The issue of HFCs has to be addressed by us under this convention. In the meeting Montreal Protocol in Bangkok last month, many countries, including some from G 20, have opposed amendments to bring it under Montreal Protocol," she said.

India and other developing countries have said that HFCs are greenhouse gases and not ozone depleting substances and hence not under the Montreal Protocol.

India said that developing countries need clarity on identified substitutes, their costs safety and economic feasibility.

"We can't take a leap of faith without knowing the exact path and the pitfalls. It is time that we had an honest dialogue instead of raising the rhetoric," she said.

India's stand on the issue came as the US and the EU are preparing to take up the issue at the high-level ministerial segment of the COP 19 conference here.

India has already said that any move to shift HFCs to Montreal Protocol from United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will call for an amendment to Montreal Protocol and a decision by consensus under UNFCCC Convention.

India also said that public finance should be the primary source of fund for climate finance.

"Simply creating the institutional arrangements like Green Climate Fund does not help as its coffers are still empty. This brings us to the need for a clear roadmap on provision on finance for 2013-15, 2015-17 and then upto 2020," Natarajan said.

India said that international cooperative initiatives must follow the principles of the convention especially equity and CBDR (Common But Differentiated Responsibilities), if they are to be accepted under the UNFCCC.

CBDR is a principle of international environmental law establishing that all states are responsible for addressing global environmental destruction yet not equally responsible.

"Developing countries should be provided the flexibility to choose their actions. Many of such initiatives are already part of international strategies and they don't bring any additionality to the ambitions," Natarajan said.

"The availability of specific financial and technological support for effective implementation of such international initiatives is also not spelt out or assured," she said.

On the controversial issue of "loss and damage" due to global warming, Natarajan said it is an important area of work affecting developing countries mostly and the decision of the COP held in Doha to set up a mechanism for addressing loss and damage must be taken to its logical conclusion.

On the issue of second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol, the Minister reiterated that the UNFCCC Convention and the Kyoto Protocol are applicable to all.

"Universality does not mean uniformity," she said.

"The world is watching us. We have a historic opportunity to change the trajectory of our future development by taking bold decisions. The developed countries must take the lead and incentivise actions for developing countries in these global efforts," Natarajan said.


Updated Date: Nov 21, 2013 19:48:41 IST