India calls for assistance to combat climate change

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, December 10 | Updated: Dec 13 2007, 01:27am hrs
India has pleaded for financial assistances to developing countries for equipping them to develop capacities to become climate resilient.

The Indian science and technology minister, Kapil Sibal while speaking at the 13th conference of parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) in Bali in Indonesia said : Developing countries must equip themselves to develop capacities to become climate resilient. For this, we require technology solutions and financial resources at an accelerated rate to cope with and adapt to the inevitability of increased global warming in the coming decades.

He said that estimates of adaptation costs for developing countries ran into several tens of billions of US dollars on an annual basis.

I hope that there is clear recognition by all concerned that these have to be met through new and additional monies and not by re-appropriation of funds meant for development. Resource mobilization of this magnitude requires that we tap all possible sources, including the carbon market and make full use of the potential from all the Kyoto flexibility mechanisms, he said.

Sibal said that the intellectual property rights (IPRs) regime must balance rewards for innovators with the common good of humankind. Standards and norms must reflect the development levels of where they are being deployed, he said and called for technology transfer at cheaper rates.

He complimented the Bali agenda for bringing technology transfer for implementation. Mere discussion is not enough. We need to reach decisions. Absence of decisions only reinforces the perception that there is lack of will on the part of the developed countries to fulfill their commitments. We need to reach consensus on technology transfer and capacity-building two issues that are really central to the global response to climate change, he said.

He said that negotiations under the Kyoto Protocol for quantified, time bound and substantial GHG reductions by developed countries post 2012 should be completed by 2009.

Sibal retreated Prime Minister, Manmohan Singhs offer at the G8 summit in Heiligendamm that India's per capita GHG emissions would at no stage exceed the per capita GHG emissions of developed countries even as we pursue our economic development. India would be launching worlds largest afforestation project covering six million hectare of degraded forest land at an investment of over $ 1.5 billion, he said.

Our per capita emission of carbon dioxide is amongst the lowest in the world at around 1 ton per annum as against a world average of 4 tons. Nevertheless we have been taking measures that inherently promote sustainable development, he said.

Quoting the recent UNDP human development report, Sibal said that historical emissions accounted for 1100 tonne of carbon dioxide per-capita for some developed countries as compared to 23 tonne for India. It is absolutely imperative that this excessive usage ends and we move to a paradigm of equal per-capita entitlements, he said.

Bali conference must also focus on urgent action for enhanced implementation of the UNFCC. Adaptation and technology cooperation, forestry issues including afforestation, sustainable lifestyle patterns, sustainable consumption levels and financial arrangements were the key to fully address the issues of global warming, he said.

Sibal criticized the developed world for failing in their commitments to take the lead in reducing GHG emissions. The figures tell a very different story, he said and added since 2000 emissions of all Annex I Parties have increased in aggregate by 2.6%. And, if EIT countries are excluded, the rise since 1990 has been 11%.

Moreover, with a single exception, he said no Annex I Party has given any indication of the range by which they would reduce their emissions in the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol. This must change.

Sibal further said : We are concerned at the attempts to create a new framework, which may result in the dilution of specific and time bound commitments on emission reductions by developed countries. This should not be allowed to happen. Any such dilution would have disastrous and irreversible consequences for future generations. We must not fail their trust.

Making a case for Indias development, Sibal said that 300 million people lived in the country on less than $ one a day. We need to improve their quality of life and we need to do that urgently. To stagger and slow down the pace of improving human development for those living with such limited pecuniary means was unacceptable and energy was the sine qua non to development, he said and added that that 600 million people in India do not have access to electricity.