M A I N   N E W S

Govt: Copenhagen accord doesn’t affect sovereignty
Jairam: Commitments made at the summit not legally binding
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 22
Even as the government came under attack from the Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha today over the climate change accord in Copenhagen, Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh insisted that the agreement would in no way affect the country’s sovereignty and that the commitments made at the summit were not legally binding.

Also, he said India would soon unveil a strategy for low carbon emissions. “Post-Copenhagen, our priority will be to cut emission intensity by 20-25 per cent by 2020 on 2005 levels, which is not only eminently feasible but which can also be improved upon seeing the benefit of our own people,” he said.

In this direction, said Ramesh, the Planning Commission had been asked to constitute a committee of experts to prepare a detailed road map for low carbon growth, giving a term of reference on what we could do. “It will submit the report within next three or four months, to be implemented in the 12th Five Year Plan," the Minister said.

Ramesh insisted that the accord was reached to the satisfaction of all concerned and made it clear that these commitments were voluntary, unilateral and not legally binding.

Impressed by the climate actions being taken by China, Ramesh observed that the neighbouring country negotiated on the basis of what it was doing at the domestic level. He expressed confidence that in 10 years from now, India could be selling green technology. “Many Indian companies have seen business opportunities in this area.”

Earlier making a suo moto statement in the Upper House, Ramesh said a major achievement of the Copenhagen accord was that it was a "non legally binding" and negotiations would continue under the Kyoto Protocol and Bali Action Plan, to be completed at the end of 2010.

On the other hand, the Opposition said the government was in a "Sharm-el-Sheikh syndrome" as far as the accord was concerned.

BJP MP Arun Jaitley, who is also the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said the document was a "betrayal of poor nations". The accord says one thing and the government's understanding is another, Jaitley said following a statement by Ramesh, while referring to the controversial Sharm-el-Sheikh joint statement signed by the prime ministers of India and Pakistan in Egypt earlier this year.

The government has been "outwitted" in the drafting of the document, Jaitley said while labelling it a "US-BASIC" accord rather than an accord among all 192 nations attending the summit. The BASIC countries are Brazil, South Africa, India and China. “It (the accord) appears to be a complete betrayal of the poor nations,” he added. He also asked the government to clarify “what will be the consequences under the guidelines (of the accord)”.

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury called the accord “a compromise document” and “an attempt to jettison” the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol and Bali Action Plan. “We have opened windows for the possible jettisoning of the Kyoto Protocol” just like the developed world wanted, he alleged. He accused the government of ensuring that the developed countries were let off from the legally-binding provisions in the Protocol for penalties against defaulting states. CPI’s Raja described the accord as “no step forward and several steps backward” and sought to know how developed countries would finance the stopping of deforestation and encourage afforestation by developing nations.

Meanwhile, the government said that the provision for “international consultation and analysis” will in no way affect India’s sovereignty.

“The Copenhagen accord was clinched to the satisfaction of all concerned,” Ramesh said while informing the House about the outcome of the 15th Conference of Parties on climate change which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attended.

He said India, China, Brazil and South Africa, the BASIC group of emerging economies, were able to get an agreement on their proposals on global goals and on monitoring and verification.

He noted that the Accord had the provision of reporting to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) about supported and unsupported mitigation actions every two years through national communications and a provision for “international consultation and analysis”.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |