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India, China sign 5-yr pact to tackle climate change

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

India and China today signed a five-year agreement to jointly fight climate change and negotiate international climate deals. The two countries also set up a Joint Working Group (JWG) that will hold annual meetings alternately in China and India to discuss respective domestic policies and measures and implementation of related cooperative projects.

The agreement, which comes ahead of a United Nations climate-change summit to be held in Copenhagen this December, was signed by the Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh and China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Vice-Chairman Xie Zhenhua. China’s NDRC and India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests will be designated authority for implementation of this agreement.

* Establish an India-China Partnership on Combating Climate Change to strengthen bilateral dialogue and practical cooperation
* Recognise the equal priority of adaptation and mitigation in tackling climate change and enhance cooperation in adaptation
* Establish an India-China Working Group on Climate Change
* Have the implementing authorities as India’s Ministry for Environment and Forests and China’s National Development and Reform Commission

“The Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) is first of its kind for both China and India and the cooperation had fructified within the short span of less than a month. There is virtually no difference between Indian and Chinese negotiating positions on international climate treaties,” said Ramesh in a statement.

“The implementation of the MoA will usher in a new scenario and take cooperation on climate change between the two countries to a new high. The agreement will also keep the Indian side informed on China’s policies on climate change and at the same time help share best practices to improve the approach to deal with the issues involved,” Xie said through an interpreter

The agreement emphasises that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol are the most appropriate framework for addressing climate change. India and China have been in the same bloc as the Group of 77 countries in climate negotiations.

The two countries also agreed to establish the India-China Partnership on Combating Climate Change to strengthen their bilateral dialogue and practical cooperation on climate change. The agreement also calls for annual meetings of scientists and economists and joint research and development programmes in areas of solar and wind energy, coal technology and forestry. “We are discussing further what the two countries should be doing for a successful outcome at Copenhagen,” said Ramesh, who also held a bilateral meeting with Xie.

Experts from both sides who participated in a workshop, shared their respective national action plans to tackle climate change including domestic initiatives, issues in multilateral negotiations (mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer and finance) and outlook for the Copenhagen conference in December.

More than 190 nations are set to gather in Copenhagen starting 7 December for the final round of talks on a climate accord to replace the Kyoto Protocol, expiring in 2012. China and India say wealthy countries including the US should lower emissions by 40 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020 and share technology with poorer nations to help them fight climate change.

South Asian Treaty
India will consider outside measurement and verification of its efforts to tackle climate change if they were supported by international finance and the transfer of technology from developed nations, Ramesh said in a statement yesterday.

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First Published: Thu, October 22 2009. 00:21 IST