Reduce your pollution 40 percent, India tells industrialised countries

By Joydeep Gupta, IANS,

Bonn : Industrialised countries should be legally bound to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions “by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels in 2020”, India and 36 other developing countries have proposed.

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The proposal, made on Friday, the last day of the June 1-12 talks here in preparation for the climate summit in Copenhagen this December, also says industrialised countries must reduce their GHG emissions after 2012 “by applying the principle of historical responsibility, from 1850 to 2005.”

Apart from India, the developing countries that have submitted this joint proposal to amend the 1997 Kyoto Protocol include China, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The developing countries, which are getting increasingly frustrated by the lack of commitment from industrialised countries even while climate change gathers pace, have proposed that between 2013 and 2020, the rich countries reduce their GHG emissions significantly, some by as much as eight times.

They also want that in future, talks on GHG emission reductions start “at least seven years before the end of any commitment period”. The current commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012.

Between 2008 and 2012, industrialised countries (except the US, which has not ratified the protocol), are legally obliged to reduce their GHG emissions by five percent, compared to 1990 levels. This is the figure that India and the other developing countries want raised to 40 percent, taking all industrialised countries together.

GHG emissions, mainly carbon dioxide, are leading to climate change, which is already affecting farm output, making droughts, floods and storms more frequent and more severe and raising the sea level. India is among the countries worst affected. Most of the extra GHG in the atmosphere now has been put there by rich countries since the start of the Industrial Age.

The proposed amendment has given a GHG emission cut figure for each developed country, with newly industrialised countries in eastern Europe asked to take smaller cuts than others.

(Joydeep Gupta can be contacted at [email protected])