Durban Climate Conference and India’s Concerns

The Durban climate conference is about to come to an end.The conference has been a low key affair with the none of the PMs participating. The key stakeholders involved in these negotiations are-the developed countries(USA,Japan,EU etc),the developing countries(mainly BRIC  nations),the least developed countries and an alliance of small island nations.

The climate negotiations have come to a stalemate mainly because of US not willing to ratify the Kyoto protocol and India’s as well as China’s insistence of not accepting any legally binding agreements.(The Kyoto Protocol was founded on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibility” by placing heavier burdens on the developed countries. It comes to an end in 2012).

India’s concerns:

Though the emission regulation is for the benefit of all nations, we are still a low-income developing country and have to provide our people with  basic survival needs.We have a long way to go in terms of economic development and cannot afford to accept legally binding cuts.

The per capita emissions of the 25 major emitters is 13 times to that of India.(India ranks 140th globally and has per capita emissions of  1.9 tonnes CO2).

When we consider the cumulative historical emissions India has emitted 2.2% of the total CO2 between 1850 to 2002 as compared to 29.3% by US. India argues that the developed countries have been responsible for the climate change and should face larger cut on the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibility’. On the other hand EU contends that all large emitters including India and China should face equal, ambitious and binding cuts.

There has been no progress on the fast track finance proposed at Copenhagen for adaptation and mitigation.

The discussions of the previous conference at Cancum also has not been translated into reality. One of such outcomes of the conference was the Green Climate Fund -a commitment by developed countries to transfer $100 billion a year by 2020 to a fund which will compensate the developing countries to acquire clean and environment-friendly technology.

No solution has been reached on account of the Intellectual Property Rights on the green technologies by the developed countries. It makes purchase of technology expensive for the developing countries.

The impasse in the conference is likely to continue unless the concerns of developing countries are addressed.
India has done its bit in reducing emissions by taking voluntary pledges in the Copenhagen accord. It has an action plan on climate and is the third largest producer of wind energy.

The carbon dioxide concentration in the world has already reached 389.6 parts per 1000 and is indeed alarming. A consensus on climate control is in the larger interest of every nation as it will catch up with  economic development sooner or later.

Mridusmita Choudhury