No headway expected at Durban meet

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Nov 29 2011, 09:13am hrs
With climate talks having begun in Durban, both the industry and climate experts are pessimistic and dont expect any concrete decision emanating from it.

However, the Indian governments hardline is also being perceived as a negotiating tactic that might help bridge the gap between the developing and the developed countries on issues like transfer of technology and funding.

It is difficult to make any prediction as to which way the negotiations will go because there are apprehensions about the positions of different countries, said RK Pachauri, director general, Teri.

His sentiments are echoed by the industry, which feels that the negotiations are not going anywhere, with no clarity being seen on the technology transfer and funding fronts.

The developing countries were promised $30 billion of fast-track financing by the developed countries and that is nowhere to be seen, said a senior official from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), who will attend the 17th Conference of Parties (COP) to the Climate Convention.

The global climate talks are significant in deciding the future of the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period is set to expire in 2012.

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and it sets binding targets for 37 industrialised countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These amount to an average of 5% against the 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012.

We want to avoid all international pressure to take on mitigation targets and focus on adaptation which requires funding while the developed nations are pushing for a legal control on us, added a senior environment ministry official. The Indian government has submitted a proposal to the UNFCCCs to include three contentious issues of unilateral trade measures, intellectual property rights (IPR) and equitable access to sustainable development for inclusion in the talks provisional agenda.

The MoEF's stance assumes importance as developed countries, especially the US, are of the view that these issues were settled in Cancun last year whereas most developing countries are of the view that not all the issues were addressed there and are still unresolved.

The December 2010 talks mentioned equity without defining it. India has defined it as a right to have equal access to global atmospheric space something opposed by the developed countries.

However, the hardline stand may actually be a negotiating tactic, say experts as this inflexibility may actually help bring the two sides on board on these issues of contention. "Also, with none of the head of states participating in the talks, one may not see a lot of action, but a lot of negotiations, as these issues can't be resolved overnight, said a climate expert from the UN climate panel.