Political parties think alike on climate change


New Delhi : India’s major political parties may squabble over anything and everything, but they are united on how to tackle climate change.

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The Congress, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) have unveiled their mind in their manifestos released for the April-May Lok Sabha elections.

Governments around the world are anxious to know India’s position on a global climate treaty that is supposed to be finalised by December 2009.

“Climate change has now emerged as a serious challenge for the world community. India too has begun to feel its impact in different ways,” says the manifesto of the Congress, which leads the United Progressive Alliance government.

It says that the National Action Plan for Climate Change, which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh unveiled last year, “is an acknowledgment of our responsibility to take credible actions within the overall framework of meeting the development aspirations of our people. This action plan will be implemented in letter and spirit”.

The BJP manifesto says it will “pursue national growth objectives through an ecologically sustainable pathway that leads to mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions.

“We recognise that containing global warming is essential to protecting life and security of people and environment. Mitigating the threat by building a low carbon economy is the biggest economic opportunity of the 21st century.”

Echoing the position taken by the Indian government for a climate treaty, the BJP says it endorses the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ as enshrined in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“We look at Climate Change in the context of the promises made by the international community for technology transfer and additional financing since Rio which have remained unfulfilled. The BJP will actively pursue the transfer of critical technologies that can have a significant impact on reducing carbon emissions.”

The manifesto says the BJP will “lay importance on energy security and sustainable energy pathways by setting clear targets for energy efficiency and renewable energy”.

It promises to “provide incentives to encourage institutions and individuals to switch over to energy-saving devices and eco-friendly designs for housing and workplace. Full support will be given for developing low-energy, low-cost technology by both public and private sectors”.

The party promises “to invest heavily in developing non-fossil fuel-based clean energy sources, especially for electricity production”.

The CPI-M says in its manifesto that it would take “steps to control emission of greenhouse gases through energy efficient technologies and effective regulation” and by promoting solar and other non-conventional energy sources.