Europe for new India-EU climate co-operation

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, February 5: | Updated: Feb 6 2008, 01:43am hrs
Europe has invited India to collaborate in its 54 billion euro project on environment and climate change. The leaders of the European Parliament are now lobbying with the Indian leaders for a new bilateral cooperation in energy and environment, following the recent global climate change conference in Bali in Indonesia.

"In view of the crucial role India can play in the context of a future international climate agreement, we would like to learn about climate change challenges it faces on and to better understand its position and plans both at the domestic and international level," said the leader of the delegation of the European Parliament's temporary committee on climate change, Guido Sacconi at a press conference here on Tuesday.

He said that the European Union has set up a 54 billion euro project to meet the challenges of climate change "Among other countries we need the cooperation of India and China, particularly for the project," he said and added that the Bali Action Plan can be a good basis for the negotiation process.

The energy component of the project is 2.30 billion euros, while the transport component is around 4.18 billion eoros.

"We welcome the constructive approach to the negotiations taken by the majority of the developing countries and their commitments to engage in nationally appropriate mitigation actions in the context of sustainable development," he said.

Sacconi is leading a nine-member delegation to India and Bangladesh which consists of socialists (PSE), Christian Democrats (EPP-ED) and a one liberal (ALDE).

The European Parliament has called for an urgent review of EU's bio-fuel policy, with particular emphasis on life cycle sustainability of each type of bio-fuel in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, said Romana Jordan.

She said: "bio-fuel is one of the alternate fuels for transport. But we now realize some problems associated with like its pricing and its impact of food prices, efficiency of the fuel, sustainable land use and food security. Food should be given priority over fuel. The EU is working on research for second generation bio-fuels."

On the issue of the recent US-EU proposal for introducing trade in green goods and services in the WTO agenda, Sacconi said: "We are aware of the reservations of India and other developing countries to bring in environment agenda in trade. The European Parliament will debate on the issue in its trade and environment committees."

He said "if a new global agreement on containing climate is not possible by 2012, replacing the Kyoto Protocol, then we have to look towards WTO to settle the issue."

"In our cooperation with India we are looking for quantitative goals in the area of combating climate change like the green package approved by the Council of European Union, energy mix, decreasing carbon dioxide emissions by 2020, 10% doping by bio-fuels, development funds and R&D." said Jordan.

Sacconi said that the 15 countries of the EU would be able to reduce their emissions by 7% in 2008 against the target of 8% "We are now looking where is the problem in the emission cut. Any way 7% reduction in EU is better than 30% increase in US."

He said that the expanded EU with its 27 members were prepared to cut their emissions by 20% by 2020. "If US is willing to cut its emission, we are even prepared for 30% cut in our emissions by 2020. We call upon the industrialized countries to cut their emissions by at least 30% by 2020 and by 60% to 80% by 2050 compared to the 1990 level."

He hoped that the new global climate agreement would be different from the Kyoto Protocol in which every country will have different roles to play depending upon their ability, resources and needs.