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Domestic compulsions prompt India, US to stop short of Paris agreement ratification

Nitin Sethi  |  New Delhi 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with US President Barack Obama  during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House. Photo: PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with US President Barack Obama during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House. Photo: PTI

Neither the nor India has committed to a formal ratification of the by the end of 2016 in the much-hyped joint statement on The political 

imperatives before outgoing President Barack Obama, domestic legal requirements in India and the procedural complications of the collectively ensured that the two didn't.

The statement, issued during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington, reads: “The United States reaffirms its commitment to join the Agreement as soon as possible this year.” The has shied from using the word ‘ratification’, as it would require approval from the senate, which is unlikely to secure from the Republican citadel.

During the negotiations between the two countries, preceding Modi’s tour, the had insisted that India should commit to a joining the as well by 2016-end, India, however, stopped short of such a commitment in the bilateral statement.

Consequently, the joint statement reads, “India similarly has begun its processes to work toward this shared objective.” Indian negotiators insisted upon this insertion to replace the single and asymmetric sentence that the had offered, binding only India to ratification by the end of this year, sources told Business Standard.

The provides four options for the countries to adopt the global deal. Article 21(1) of the pact permits countries to ratify, accept, approve or accede. Each term has different implications in different countries’ domestic, constitutional and legal framework. For the US, a ratification of a non-trade agreement necessarily requires approval from the Senate, which is keen to avoid. But other terms, which provide options for the President to adopt the agreement through an executive order, also leave the door open for the future Presidents to walk out.

The option available to the US, to easily walk out of the deal, worries many developing countries, including India. The fact that the had kept out of the Kyoto Protocol after negotiating till the last moment, as well as the current election rhetoric by the Republican candidate Donald Trump, who has threatened to pull out of the Paris agreement, have impacted the negotiations between key developing countries and the

is pushing hard to get the going as his legacy. But he can only join the agreement. He can’t ratify it. What if developing countries ratify it, helping the come into force by 2016-end, but the next President walks out of it with a simple executive order? We have to be mindful of the possibilities,” said one of the negotiators.

The would come into force only when at least 55 countries — accounting for at least 55 per cent of the total greenhouse gas emissions — ratify, approve, accept or accede to the agreement. India accounts for only 4.01 per cent of total global emissions.

Domestically, India needs to undertake inter-ministerial consultations for ratifying any international agreement that has economy-wide implications. But the Modi government is not required to secure a Parliamentary approval before ratifying an international treaty.

“Broadly speaking, India would have to undertake inter-ministerial consultations, consult with states, and ensure that legislative requirements are in place for implementing the pact before the Union Cabinet ratifies the Paris agreement,” said J M Mauskar, member of the Prime Minister’s council on and a former senior negotiator for India.

“I think it was a mature decision between the two allies, based on acknowledgement, appreciation and understanding of each other’s domestic and constitutional imperatives,” Mauskar said, referring to the India-statement on

The process has already begun in India, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar explained during his briefing in Washington. It will require the Union government to ensure that laws pertaining to environment, forests and energy are equipped with provisions to implement the various provisions of the

A current Indian negotiator also noted the complexity that lies ahead in operationalising the The crucial rules for transparency, reporting and verification under the 

Paris agreementand many other issues are yet to be negotiated in detail. These negotiations are to now take place between all 196 member countries of the over-arching UN climate convention. If the comes into force before these rules are finalised, then only those countries which join the pact would have the right to negotiate the rules. The others would be only observers — a clear disadvantage to developing countries with disparate capacities to come on board in time.

An option has been floated to bring the into force, permitting Obama to claim it as his legacy, and then allow all the 196 countries to negotiate the rules by putting the agreement in a technical suspension. But many developing countries, including India, are unsure of the consequence and worth of such an exercise, only to allow Obama his legacy gift

“Do we want to sign an agreement we don’t know the full contours of? Do we want to be stuck in a situation where allied developing countries are not sitting on the table to negotiate these rules? These are questions we must address before we decide to ratify the agreement,” the Indian negotiator said.

 Making it more complicated for developing countries, an early ratification of the would also take the pressure away from the rich nations to enhance their emission-reducing actions between now and 2020, something they have so far paid only lip service to. Yet, contrary to earlier internal assessment, India has not closed the door to signing on the agreement in 2016, if the does it as well and other issues of rule making under the find resolution.

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Domestic compulsions prompt India, US to stop short of Paris agreement ratification

Neither the US nor India has committed to a formal ratification of the Paris agreement by the end of 2016 in the much-hyped joint statement on climate change.The statement, issued during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Washington, reads: "The United States reaffirms its commitment to join the Agreement as soon as possible this year." The US has shied from using the word 'ratification', as it would require approval from the US senate, which President Obama is unlikely to secure from the Republican citadel.During the negotiations between the two countries, preceding Modi's tour, the US had insisted that India should commit to a formal ratification by 2016-end, while Washington would use the term "join the agreement". India, however, stopped short of such a commitment in the bilateral statement. Consequently, the joint statement reads, "India similarly has begun its processes to work toward this shared objective." Indian negotiators insisted upon this insertion to replace the sing
Neither the nor India has committed to a formal ratification of the by the end of 2016 in the much-hyped joint statement on The political 

imperatives before outgoing President Barack Obama, domestic legal requirements in India and the procedural complications of the collectively ensured that the two didn't.

The statement, issued during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington, reads: “The United States reaffirms its commitment to join the Agreement as soon as possible this year.” The has shied from using the word ‘ratification’, as it would require approval from the senate, which is unlikely to secure from the Republican citadel.

During the negotiations between the two countries, preceding Modi’s tour, the had insisted that India should commit to a joining the as well by 2016-end, India, however, stopped short of such a commitment in the bilateral statement.

Consequently, the joint statement reads, “India similarly has begun its processes to work toward this shared objective.” Indian negotiators insisted upon this insertion to replace the single and asymmetric sentence that the had offered, binding only India to ratification by the end of this year, sources told Business Standard.

The provides four options for the countries to adopt the global deal. Article 21(1) of the pact permits countries to ratify, accept, approve or accede. Each term has different implications in different countries’ domestic, constitutional and legal framework. For the US, a ratification of a non-trade agreement necessarily requires approval from the Senate, which is keen to avoid. But other terms, which provide options for the President to adopt the agreement through an executive order, also leave the door open for the future Presidents to walk out.

The option available to the US, to easily walk out of the deal, worries many developing countries, including India. The fact that the had kept out of the Kyoto Protocol after negotiating till the last moment, as well as the current election rhetoric by the Republican candidate Donald Trump, who has threatened to pull out of the Paris agreement, have impacted the negotiations between key developing countries and the

is pushing hard to get the going as his legacy. But he can only join the agreement. He can’t ratify it. What if developing countries ratify it, helping the come into force by 2016-end, but the next President walks out of it with a simple executive order? We have to be mindful of the possibilities,” said one of the negotiators.

The would come into force only when at least 55 countries — accounting for at least 55 per cent of the total greenhouse gas emissions — ratify, approve, accept or accede to the agreement. India accounts for only 4.01 per cent of total global emissions.

Domestically, India needs to undertake inter-ministerial consultations for ratifying any international agreement that has economy-wide implications. But the Modi government is not required to secure a Parliamentary approval before ratifying an international treaty.

“Broadly speaking, India would have to undertake inter-ministerial consultations, consult with states, and ensure that legislative requirements are in place for implementing the pact before the Union Cabinet ratifies the Paris agreement,” said J M Mauskar, member of the Prime Minister’s council on and a former senior negotiator for India.

“I think it was a mature decision between the two allies, based on acknowledgement, appreciation and understanding of each other’s domestic and constitutional imperatives,” Mauskar said, referring to the India-statement on

The process has already begun in India, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar explained during his briefing in Washington. It will require the Union government to ensure that laws pertaining to environment, forests and energy are equipped with provisions to implement the various provisions of the

A current Indian negotiator also noted the complexity that lies ahead in operationalising the The crucial rules for transparency, reporting and verification under the 

Paris agreementand many other issues are yet to be negotiated in detail. These negotiations are to now take place between all 196 member countries of the over-arching UN climate convention. If the comes into force before these rules are finalised, then only those countries which join the pact would have the right to negotiate the rules. The others would be only observers — a clear disadvantage to developing countries with disparate capacities to come on board in time.

An option has been floated to bring the into force, permitting Obama to claim it as his legacy, and then allow all the 196 countries to negotiate the rules by putting the agreement in a technical suspension. But many developing countries, including India, are unsure of the consequence and worth of such an exercise, only to allow Obama his legacy gift

“Do we want to sign an agreement we don’t know the full contours of? Do we want to be stuck in a situation where allied developing countries are not sitting on the table to negotiate these rules? These are questions we must address before we decide to ratify the agreement,” the Indian negotiator said.

 Making it more complicated for developing countries, an early ratification of the would also take the pressure away from the rich nations to enhance their emission-reducing actions between now and 2020, something they have so far paid only lip service to. Yet, contrary to earlier internal assessment, India has not closed the door to signing on the agreement in 2016, if the does it as well and other issues of rule making under the find resolution.
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Business Standard
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Domestic compulsions prompt India, US to stop short of Paris agreement ratification

Neither the nor India has committed to a formal ratification of the by the end of 2016 in the much-hyped joint statement on The political 

imperatives before outgoing President Barack Obama, domestic legal requirements in India and the procedural complications of the collectively ensured that the two didn't.

The statement, issued during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington, reads: “The United States reaffirms its commitment to join the Agreement as soon as possible this year.” The has shied from using the word ‘ratification’, as it would require approval from the senate, which is unlikely to secure from the Republican citadel.

During the negotiations between the two countries, preceding Modi’s tour, the had insisted that India should commit to a joining the as well by 2016-end, India, however, stopped short of such a commitment in the bilateral statement.

Consequently, the joint statement reads, “India similarly has begun its processes to work toward this shared objective.” Indian negotiators insisted upon this insertion to replace the single and asymmetric sentence that the had offered, binding only India to ratification by the end of this year, sources told Business Standard.

The provides four options for the countries to adopt the global deal. Article 21(1) of the pact permits countries to ratify, accept, approve or accede. Each term has different implications in different countries’ domestic, constitutional and legal framework. For the US, a ratification of a non-trade agreement necessarily requires approval from the Senate, which is keen to avoid. But other terms, which provide options for the President to adopt the agreement through an executive order, also leave the door open for the future Presidents to walk out.

The option available to the US, to easily walk out of the deal, worries many developing countries, including India. The fact that the had kept out of the Kyoto Protocol after negotiating till the last moment, as well as the current election rhetoric by the Republican candidate Donald Trump, who has threatened to pull out of the Paris agreement, have impacted the negotiations between key developing countries and the

is pushing hard to get the going as his legacy. But he can only join the agreement. He can’t ratify it. What if developing countries ratify it, helping the come into force by 2016-end, but the next President walks out of it with a simple executive order? We have to be mindful of the possibilities,” said one of the negotiators.

The would come into force only when at least 55 countries — accounting for at least 55 per cent of the total greenhouse gas emissions — ratify, approve, accept or accede to the agreement. India accounts for only 4.01 per cent of total global emissions.

Domestically, India needs to undertake inter-ministerial consultations for ratifying any international agreement that has economy-wide implications. But the Modi government is not required to secure a Parliamentary approval before ratifying an international treaty.

“Broadly speaking, India would have to undertake inter-ministerial consultations, consult with states, and ensure that legislative requirements are in place for implementing the pact before the Union Cabinet ratifies the Paris agreement,” said J M Mauskar, member of the Prime Minister’s council on and a former senior negotiator for India.

“I think it was a mature decision between the two allies, based on acknowledgement, appreciation and understanding of each other’s domestic and constitutional imperatives,” Mauskar said, referring to the India-statement on

The process has already begun in India, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar explained during his briefing in Washington. It will require the Union government to ensure that laws pertaining to environment, forests and energy are equipped with provisions to implement the various provisions of the

A current Indian negotiator also noted the complexity that lies ahead in operationalising the The crucial rules for transparency, reporting and verification under the 

Paris agreementand many other issues are yet to be negotiated in detail. These negotiations are to now take place between all 196 member countries of the over-arching UN climate convention. If the comes into force before these rules are finalised, then only those countries which join the pact would have the right to negotiate the rules. The others would be only observers — a clear disadvantage to developing countries with disparate capacities to come on board in time.

An option has been floated to bring the into force, permitting Obama to claim it as his legacy, and then allow all the 196 countries to negotiate the rules by putting the agreement in a technical suspension. But many developing countries, including India, are unsure of the consequence and worth of such an exercise, only to allow Obama his legacy gift

“Do we want to sign an agreement we don’t know the full contours of? Do we want to be stuck in a situation where allied developing countries are not sitting on the table to negotiate these rules? These are questions we must address before we decide to ratify the agreement,” the Indian negotiator said.

 Making it more complicated for developing countries, an early ratification of the would also take the pressure away from the rich nations to enhance their emission-reducing actions between now and 2020, something they have so far paid only lip service to. Yet, contrary to earlier internal assessment, India has not closed the door to signing on the agreement in 2016, if the does it as well and other issues of rule making under the find resolution.

image
Business Standard
177 22