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Won’t accept binding carbon cuts: Ramesh
Spells out ‘non-negotiables’, hints at flexibility
Faraz Ahmad
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 3
India will never accept legally binding emission cuts at Copenhagen, announced Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh here today.

Ramesh was giving an account of India’s stand on climate change which would be spelt out at the Copenhagen conference, scheduled later this month.

Replying to a daylong debate --- during which the Opposition apprehended India succumbing to the pressure from the developed nations --- Ramesh listed the “non-negotiables” on which India would not compromise at any cost, even as he admitted that country’s stand would be flexible. Members from the treasury benches and also some from the other side like RLD member Jayant Chaudhary vociferously supported the government’s desire to exercise flexibility at the Copenhagen summit.

“India will never accept a legally binding regime of emission cuts. I can say this absolutely and clearly that there would be no legally binding emission cuts,” said the minister, adding that “on our own, voluntarily, we will reduce emission intensity by 20-25 per cent in 15 years from 2005.”

“The second non-negotiable: We will not accept an agreement demarcating the peaking year, the year after which our emission levels will start tapering off,” added Ramesh.

The minister further said India will not subject its indigenous technology, developed without foreign support, to any international emission scrutiny, but added that it was flexible and willing to accept scrutiny of ventures developed with outside financial and technological support. “We would not subject unsupported actions to the same scrutiny as the supported actions,” he clarified.

He assured the House repeatedly that he was not going to Copenhagen to “sell off India’s interests” to the US or other developed European countries and informed that already India was working in tandem with China, Brazil and South Africa.

“Only yesterday we have jointly submitted a draft. Denmark as the host country has also submitted a draft,” he stated.

“We are working closely with China, but China is number one in emissions, while India is number five and working with China does not mean we don’t talk to America. But talking to America doesn’t mean we are selling to America. This is an assault on my self-respect and honour,” Ramesh said.

The Indian team to Copenhagen will include five MPs, two from the Lok Sabha and two from the Rajya Sabha. In addition, two schoolchildren and two college-going students (both girls) would also be the members of the Indian squad on environment and climate change.

“By 2030, 40 or 50, you and I will not be alive. So a 70-year or a 60-year-old can hardly talk about the future. Those who will face the consequences of climate change, are best suited to articulate these concerns,” the minister maintained.

But he also unveiled plans of imposing a strict emission regime and bringing in laws through Parliament to enforce these with greater vigour. “We will come to Parliament, we will mandate fuel efficiency for all vehicles by December 2010,” said Ramesh.



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