With no signs of a possible deal at the climate summit in the Danish capital, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today made it clear that future negotiations on tackling the menace should be based on equitable burden sharing as enshrined in Kyoto Protocol and Bali mandate.
He set the tone for India’s take on the outcome of COP15 negotiations in his speech on Friday’s plenary session by acknowledging that “it may well fall short of our expectations” and warned against any dilution of the principles of UNFCCC, particularly of “common but differentiated” responsibilities.
Maintaining that world leaders should accept a global climate change deal, even if it is “imperfect”, US President Barack Obama hammered the nail into the coffin of any hope for a substantial agreement when he said, “I think our ability to take collective action is in doubt right now and it hangs in the balance.” He strongly pitched for “transparency” and sharing of information on national actions taken by countries.
Prior to speaking at the plenary, Singh held a bilateral meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao followed by a meeting with the leaders of all BASIC countries. “Future negotiations must continue on the basis of 1997 Kyoto Protocol and 2007 Bali Action Plan and parties (rich nations) should deliver on their commitments for emission cuts. Kyoto Protocol should continue to stand as a valid legal instrument,” Singh said.
At a press briefing, Singh’s special envoy for climate change Shyam Saran raised the issue that plagued the two-week negotiations — the existence of drafts for the political accord that world leaders would be expected to endorse, which all parties to the talks are not privy to.
Saran said at the meeting of the BASIC countries there was a sense that proceedings had not transpired in a “transparent and inclusive” way. The fear remained that the final political agreement to be given to the heads of state and government would be readied too late in the day for negotiating teams to go through and endorse.
Saran said it remained India’s stance to fight any attempt to replace the Kyoto Protocol with the kind of pledge and review system being proposed by the US.
Maintaining that India had a vital stake in the success of talks as it was likely to be among the most affected by climate change, Singh told a galaxy of world leaders, it would deliver on its voluntary target of reducing the emission intensity of GDP growth by 20 per cent by 2020 as compared to 2005, regardless of the outcome of the conference. “We can do even more if a supporting global climate regime is in place,” he said.
Meanwhile, in the afternoon Obama reiterated the United States’ pledge to cut down carbon emissions in the range of 17 per cent by 2020 over 2005 levels only in addition to repeating Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s announcement yesterday on US support for $100 billion fund for medium-term financing.
He linked all promises to international MRVs (monitoring, reporting and verification), saying that without verification any promises would be empty.
Touching upon a key point of differences between developed nations and developing countries like China and India, he said all major economies should allow non-intrusive outside scrutiny of climate action and warned that there will be no aid that “had no strings” attached.
“I am sure that many consider this an imperfect framework... No country will get everything that it wants.”
Wen Jiabao categorically rejected MRVs of voluntary, domestic mitigation actions, while stressing that China’s own energy intensity reduction targets of 40-45 per cent by 2020 were “not attached to any condition” and “not linked to any targets”.
This was a reference to the positions of many of the developed country blocs such as the European Union that put conditional emission reduction targets on the table as well as the US’ linking of its participation in the medium-term financing fund to “transparency”.
Obama and Wen also met for 55 minutes on the sidelines and discussed the contentious issues blocking a deal. An official said the session was “constructive” and “made progress”.