India not to accept climate treaty sans carbon budget

Written by fe Bureaus | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 30 2010, 03:20am hrs
Environment minister Jairam Ramesh on Monday reiterated India will not accept an international climate treaty that does not have at its base the principles of equity and equitable access to global atmospheric space. To this end, India will take a leadership role in pushing for a global carbon budget principle in the run-up to the United Nations climate change conference at Cancun in Mexico. The 16th Conference of the Parties, under the aegis of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is scheduled to be held between 29 November and 10 December this year.

Ramesh was speaking on the first day of a two-day conference in Mumbai to discuss carbon budget proposals by academics and think tanks from India and abroad. The conference _ Global carbon budgets and climate change _ has been organised by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, with the support of the ministry of environment and forests. According to a ministry release, the conference will focus on a carbon budget perspective that takes into consideration not just annual emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) by a country but also the total stock of GHG gases emitted over time.

Here, the historical responsibility of the industrialised nations dwarfs that of the developing countries, and thus India stands to gain sharply if a global carbon budget principle is accepted. The minister said India stands to benefit greatly if such an approach is adopted as "we are creditors and have not used the carbon space which has been quantified by a German think tank publication".

Ramesh reiterated the stance of the G77+China bloc, saying India could not accept a global climate treaty that overlooked considerations such as equity, equitable access to atmospheric space and issues of development. "This is a matter of survival for us and when we talk about equity, we talk about development," he said. "Ensuring equity is fundamental to a global climate change agreement. For this, equity needs to be an operational, implementable concept, rather than just a theoretical one," Ramesh said. He stressed that both per capita emissions and per capita income must form the basis for an international treaty. Delegates from India, China, Brazil, South Africa, Germany, Switzerland and the UK participated in the conference.