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Natarajan pushes for India's right to grow at Durban meet

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

Union Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan on Tuesday made it clear at the global climate change meet at Durban, South Africa, that India would not compromise on the principles of equity and historical responsibility in addressing the issue of climate change.

Jayanthi NatarajanIndia and China are being targeted for their high carbon emission. Talking on the sidelines of the meet, the minister said, “Equity is central to any debate on climate change.”

At the same forum, Sunita Narain of the non-profit Centre for Science & Environment argued that while India and China are being pulled up for their growing emissions, the world was conveniently forgetting about the US emissions, still growing at four per cent.

The rift between developing and developed countries seems to be widening on climate issues at Durban. The rich want the distinction between the past polluters – responsible for climate change impacts currently occurring – and the future polluters, who need ecological space to grow, to be removed. If the distinction remains, they will have to take action first to reduce and create carbon space for the poorer countries to increase their emissions.

On the issue of legally binding commitments, India has indicated that it was “open” to all ideas at the climate talks but wanted more reassurances from the developed world before taking any further commitments. Natarajan stressed she was looking for further reassurances from the developed world.

To the demand for a new legally-binding treaty, being raised by the European Union, Japan and other parties, Natarajan said, “I have come to Durban with an open mind.” After joining the talks this week, she met top negotiators from the US and European Union, among others.

With the politics on climate change gaining steam, industry chambers are looking for a clear roadmap on strategies. Arun Bharat Ram, past president of the Confederation of Indian Industry said: “Indian industry is looking forward to a clear roadmap for technology transfer, financing and continuation of the Kyoto Protocol at the ongoing COP 17 discussions at Durban.”

Industry being a major stakeholder for development of climate-friendly solutions and technologies, any derailment of climate negotiations may affect business and investor confidence, he said.

“India should urge clear signals for the markets from the Durban climate talks,” said the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

It said India should not reverse its long-standing position of not accepting any legally binding targets, in the interest of the industry and economy.

It is crucial that the Kyoto Protocol continues and, therefore, the second commitment period is what India should continue to push for and enable countries to agree upon, the chamber added.

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First Published: Wed, December 07 2011. 00:15 IST