'Don't expect much from Copenhagen meet'

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi | Updated: Nov 21 2009, 00:23am hrs
India has said that it does not expect that anything much could be achieved at the 10-day long crucial climate change negotiations scheduled in Copenhagen from December 7, 2009. But it has vowed to stick to its rigid negotiating position and continue to give leadership to the developing countries as negotiations are likely to continue beyond Copenhagen.

India would resist any attempt to bring the issue of black carbon emission in the climate talks.

So far the debate is on for cutting down the emission limits of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Copenhagen meeting is for negotiations for cuts in GHG emission and not for black carbon emission. We would resist any move for bringing in black carbon emission for discussions. Scientific link between black carbon emission and global warming and melting of glaciers is still being studied, said the Indian environment and forests minister, Jairam Ramesh, while releasing the UNFPAs The State of World Population-2009 report in Delhi on Thursday.

This years report of the United Nations Population Fund UNFPA like the reports of other UN organization has focused extensively on climate change.

There are other important human-induced influences on climate besides greenhouse gases. Evidence is mounting for significant consequences to climate variability from soot or black carbon, that originates from fires, coal plants, diesel engines and burning by households. Dark particles that remain suspended in the atmosphere absorb radiant energy and warm the air they occupy. Global emissions of black carbon are rising fast, and Chinese emissions may have doubled since 2000. The warming influence of black carbon could be three times greater than estimates from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes latest report, making it the second-most important climate agent after carbon dioxide, the UNFPA report said.

When black carbon falls onto ice it darkens the surface, absorbing more of the suns energy which leads to local warming and melting. Soot may be a contributor to the disappearance of glaciers in some regions and could even explain the accelerated rates of melt in the Himalaya-Hindu Kush, the report said

However on the perceived notion of the warming effect of black carbon, the UNFPA report said : These findings remain controversial because black soot can cool as well as warm.

The Indian environment minister clarified that India would not agree to any legally binding commitments that force the developing countries to cut their GHG emissions. But we will act domestically on our own. India will stick to its negotiating position and provide leadership to the developing world. As per Bali Action Plan developed countries are legally bound to cut their emission levels, while the developing countries would adopt nationally appropriate mitigation actions, he said

He however said that India was prepared to show flexibility and deviate from the mandated nationally appropriate mitigation actions to nationally accountable mitigation outlook. India has already adopted a National Action Plan on Climate Change. The 12th Five-Year Plan of the Union Government would focus on combating climate change. By 2025, it planned to cut emissions from transport sector by 20% to 35%. Strategies are afoot for a mandatory fuel efficiency economy. Energy efficiency norms in industry would be adopted. Incentives would be given to steel producers for meeting energy efficiency norms.

Ramesh also suggested a clean power sector and more supply of energy needs from new and renewable sources by 2020. He said that Indian forest cover was at present responsible for 10% neutralization of carbon. He also suggested increasing the area under certified organic farming.

When asked to comment on Brazils commitment to reduce it emissions by 30% and Indonesias commitment to cut its emission level by 26%, the Indian environment minister said ;these countries have done so to avoid deforestation. Brazil has asked for finance for cutting down its emission level.

He said that India believed in setting performance targets on its own. He called for a water legislation and better pricing of water use.

On the issue of transfer of appropriate green technology, the Indian environment minister was of the view that intellectual property rights (IPR) regime may not be difficult issue to tackle as it was in the case of pharmaceuticals.

The UNFPA representative Nesim Tumkaya said that he was happy to note that there was no evidence of willful destruction of forest cover in India by deliberate forest fires as was the case in many other countries.