India to insist on forestry at Bonn climate meet

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 1 2009, 00:57am hrs
In its preparation for the upcoming Bonn Conference on Climate Change scheduled from August 10, this year, India has called for recognizing forest conservation and forestation under the Reduced Deforestation in Developing Countries (REED) Scheme, adequate and flexible financing of climate projects in the Third World and viable technology transfer without tags.

We are going to insist on these three pillars of negotiations at Bonn, the Union minister of state for environment and forests, Jairam Ramesh said while addressing the mediapersons here on Friday.

He added : We are not defensive in our approach on emission problem nor are we obstructionist. We are assertive and hope the Bonn Conference would ultimately pave the way for an agreement at Copenhagen meet.

India has also called for a two-day high level global conference on climate change and technology development and transfer beginning in New Delhi from October 22. This international conference is expected to be participated by environment ministers from 190 countries and would come out with a New Delhi Declaration on Technology Transfer.

Ramesh reiterated Indias position on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities a principle that the entire global community has enshrined in UNFCCC concluded in 1992 at the historic Rio Summit. He said that India was for fixing per capita emission limits of countries. He said that Indias per capita emission level was low at 1.2 tonne of carbon dioxide as compared to 20.6 tonne in US, 20 tonne in Canada, 9.8 tonne in UK and Germany, 9.9 tonne in Japan.

He said that under circumstances India was not committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and have already assured that its per capita emission would never exceed that of the developed countries. The developing countries have the right to take up development projects to fight poverty , he said.

India has already submitted 12 papers in 2008 and 2009 which encapsulate countrys views on relevant topics in the course of negotiations. Of particular note are countrys submission s on technology transfer and forestry. On technology, India has presented a proposal to establish a mechanism for the development and transfer of technologies needed by developing countries for addressing climate change. On forestry, India has put forth an innovative proposal on forestry-related emissions, in which the emphasis is not only on reducing deforestation, but also on forest conservation, sustainable forestry management and enhancement of forest carbon stock.

Prior to this upcoming global event, a two-day conference of environment ministers from eight South Asian countries Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka is scheduled in New Delhi from October 19, 2009 to evolve a common strategy for the region.

India is also slated to release on August 10, this year at the time of the Bonn Conference, an analytical report on how much global emission is captured by the countrys forest cover per year.

The minister said that India had a large afforestation programme with about 60% of the geographical area (65 million hectare) under forest cover. Within next six years additional six million hectare of degraded forest land would be brought under green cover

Ramesh said that he had already discussed with the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton about Indias position on climate change during her recent vist to India There is a possibility of India joining in a programme for a joint study on shrinking Himalayan glaciers with China. We will also have cooperation with US on solar energy and green coal technology, he said.

Recently India has undertaken 15 initiatives relating to Climate change in the areas of forestry, energy, research, CDM and international conference for generating awareness. On clean development mechanism (CDM) front, the minister said India has largely benefited and could garner $600 million. The scheme needs to be expanded, he said.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has recently approved a total outlay of Rs 369 million on major forestry management in the XI Plan period and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) would provide for capacity building and training. Under this scheme the Union government would provide 70% grant to state government. However in case of special category state the Union-States funding will be in the ratio 90:10

The minister informed that a Bill for setting up of a National Green Tribunal, replacing the existing bodies was placed in the lower house (Lok Sabha) of the Parliament on Friday. From January 7, 2010 labeling of Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) would be mandatory for air conditioners, distribution transmitters, refrigerators and florescent lamps. After six months this would extended to cover electric motors and colour TVs.