Manmohan Singh well up in global green leader ranking

By Joydeep Gupta, IANS,

New Delhi : Manmohan Singh has done quite well among global leaders on initiatives to fight climate change, according to a ranking prepared by the NGO Greenpeace. US President Barack Obama has fared the worst, while the premier of Tuvalu has come out tops.

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Leaders of all the major developing countries — India, China, Brazil and South Africa — fared far better than their counterparts from industrialised countries in the Greenpeace rating, prepared after the last round of preparatory talks for the Copenhagen climate summit ended in Barcelona last Friday.

A spokesperson of the international NGO Greenpeace said here Tuesday: “Developing country leaders were ranked on the basis of greenhouse gas emission reductions from the business-as-usual scenario, frequent measuring and reporting of emissions, transparency of mitigation actions, forest and biodiversity protection, ensuring real and additional climate benefits, guaranteeing the rights of indigenous peoples and national emission reduction plans.”

On this basis, Manmohan Singh scored 53 out of 100. The big four among developing countries was led by Jacob Zuma of South Africa with 63, followed by Hu Jintao of China with 59. Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva brought up the rear with 50.

The developing countries were led by Apisai Lelemia, the prime minister of Tuvalu, who scored 87 out of 100. The little archipelago in the Pacific Ocean is critically endangered as the sea level rises due to global warming and has taken a number of urgent steps to save the citizens of his country.

In contrast, Obama scored only 8 out of 100. The highest ranked leaders in the rich world were Angela Merkel of Germany and Gordon Brown of Britain, both with 45.

The spokesperson said leaders of industrialised countries were ranked on the basis of whether emission reductions from their countries were adequate according to scientists, whether they were willing to fund developing countries to fight climate change and to ensure those funds were delivered, if they had an ambitious goal to protect forests and biodiversity while guaranteeing the rights of indigenous peoples, and whether they were willing to have their emission reduction targets adjusted in line with scientific developments.

Talking about Manmohan Singh, the spokesperson pointed out that the Indian prime minister had recently announced “massive solar projects to accompany strong energy efficiency targets. But on the details of forest protection and the legal form of a (Copenhagen) treaty, he could still significantly improve India’s position.

“Manmohan Singh is willing to ensure India’s emissions deviate significantly from business as usual by 2020 with help from developed countries, along with certain unilateral actions. However, he fails to specify and commit to what science dictates, a 15-30 percent reduction compared to business as usual.”

While lauding the Indian premier for his willingness to report India’s greenhouse gas inventory twice in five years, to allow international verification on measures funded with international money, the spokesperson said: “His stance on biodiversity protection and indigenous people rights need improvement.”