Home India News Fissures within Indian climate team get clearer

Fissures within Indian climate team get clearer

By Joydeep Gupta, IANS,

Copenhagen: Differences within the Indian government delegation at the Dec 7-18 climate summit became apparent here Tuesday, with delegation leader Shyam Saran deciding to return to New Delhi before the arrival of Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.

A member of the delegation, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Saran – the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Climate Change – would return to the talks here with Manmohan Singh on the final two days of the summit.

Meanwhile, Ramesh will lead the Indian delegation.

Differences have cropped up within the Indian government team after Ramesh’s announcement in parliament last week that India would reduce its carbon emissions intensity by 20-25 percent by 2020, compared to 2005.

Veteran negotiators like Chandrashekhar Dasgupta had gone public to say India had played its hand too early, so there was “nothing left to negotiate”, though he has been reassured by other members. This is in sharp contrast to Ramesh’s statement in parliament that “India always left its announcements till too late, so there was the impression that it was acting under pressure”.

While summit organisers, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and negotiators from developed countries have warmly welcomed Ramesh’s statement, the same cannot be said for the smaller members of the Group of 77, which had hitherto looked at India as their champion.

The G77 has had the consistent position that developed countries must first reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases that are warming the atmosphere, before developing countries are asked to mitigate their emissions.

Stanislas-Kaw Di-Aping, the ambassador of Sudan to the UN, reiterated that position at the start of the summit here Monday. Sudan is the current chair of the G77.

Delegates from Bangladesh and Nepal have now raised the issue within closed-door G77 meetings that any money made available by rich countries to help developing nations tackle climate change effects must first go to the poorest countries, according to delegates from Brazil and India, who said this was the first time such a divisive issue had been raised publicly in a G77 meeting.

The European Union has promoted this division by announcing Monday that money for adapting to climate change effects would be “targeted at the poorest countries and poorest communities”, a formulation that has not gone down well with China, India or Brazil.

About $10 billion a year over the next three years is at stake, according to UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer.

The talk in the corridors here is that by next week, emerging economies like Brazil, South Africa, India and China – and perhaps Indonesia – may desert the G77 and form their own bloc for climate negotiations, though some negotiators said the Chinese had not yet made up their minds on this.