Experts laud PMs stand on climate change

Written by Rajiv Tikoo | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 31 2009, 16:30pm hrs
A day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the country wont take binding targets for carbon emission reduction, Rajendra K Pachauri, chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, emphasised that the governments recognition that global temperature should not rise by more than 2C above pre-industrial times is a step in the right direction.

Pachauri asked, If we dont do it, what is the basis for our demanding that developed countries take action on climate change.

On Wednesday, Singh sought to ally apprehensions that the country will undertake commitments under pressure that may undermine her economic growth.

Saying that the reference to containing the global temperature increase to 2C in the Major Economies Forum declaration doesnt automatically impose obligations on the country to accept emission reduction targets, Singh added, This is a one-sided and misleading interpretation of the contents of the declaration.

Prime Ministers special envoy on climate change Shyam Saran too added, The MEF story (interpretation of the declaration in some sections) is misleading and the conclusions being drawn are not accurate.

Its for the first time that India has accepted a reference to 2C above pre-industrial times for leading global response, and it only emphasises Indias position that global warming is a serious issue.

Though the MEF declaration refers to G-8 pledges to cut emissions, experts say that developing countries are not expected to commit to emission reduction targets in the mid-term.

Elaborates Nitin Desai, a former UN under-secretary general, The acceptance of the threshold level of 2 degree C above pre-industrial times doesnt necessarily mean committing to emission caps. Emissions can be reduced even through market mechanisms.

Locating India's position on climate change in a larger global perspective, Arun Seth, chairman, BT India, added, While developing countries engage with developed countries for securing financial and technological support, at the same time they should do as much as they can do on their own because of the higher cost of inaction.