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India among countries leading fight against climate change: WWF


Bangkok : India, China and Japan are now leading the world to reach a deal this December that will be effective in tackling climate change while EU and the US are proving major stumbling blocks, international NGO WWF has said.

As delegates from 177 countries gathered here Monday for the start of a two-week preparatory meet for December’s climate summit in Copenhagen, WWF applauded Japan, China and India for outlining concrete action to mitigate emissions of greenhouse gases.

“By playing an increasingly constructive role in the negotiations, they are confirming their determination to become the world’s next economic leaders on the basis of a green economy and low carbon growth,” said Kim Carstensen, leader of the WWF Global Climate Initiative.

“Pledges such as Japan’s to reduce emissions 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 and that of Indonesia to keep emission growth 26-41 percent below business as usual projections by 2020 are bringing us closer to the global emission reduction targets we need,” said Carstensen.

He added that WWF was “worried about a mismatch between credible leadership in Asia and empty rhetoric in Europe and the US” on ways to tackle climate change. “While key Asian countries are offering concrete contributions to reach a deal in December, EU and US are emerging as major stumbling blocks.”

“Both developed and developing Asia are finding their way to the top in the world league of climate action. Now industrialised countries, and in particular the US, have to follow Asia’s example, and after missed opportunities in New York and Pittsburgh the talks in Bangkok present the next chance to step up.”

India’s Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) session on climate in New York last week that the country was willing to report to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) the actions it took to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

GHG emissions — mainly carbon dioxide — are warming the atmosphere and leading to climate change, which in turn is affecting farm output, making droughts, floods and storms more sever and more frequent, and raising the sea level. India is among the countries worst affected.

Indian negotiators at global climate talks had earlier blocked attempts by the West to make the country’s actions “measurable, reportable and verifiable” (MRV) on the grounds that industrialised countries had no business seeking such reports except on projects they paid for.

Now, without the West making any concrete offer on financing and transfer of green technologies, India has made the offer to make its mitigation actions MRV, with Ramesh saying the country has nothing to hide because it is doing a lot to move to a greener development path.

While India’s latest stand has drawn kudos from the international community, it has been criticised in some quarters back home as a possible infringement on the country’s sovereignty. At international forums though, it is likely to improve India’s negotiating position.

Despite this, hopes for an ambitious deal which would help protect the planet from irreversible damage caused by climate change will become very slim unless negotiators at the current UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) talks make significant progress, Carstensen added.

“After months of haggling, losing time and arguing we have now entered the last phase and have an absolutely last minute chance to rescue the climate deal.”

“The main tasks are in the hands of rich countries which need to come up with ambitious (GHG emission) reduction targets as well as finance commitments which will help developing countries to adapt to climate change,” Carstensen said.

“Delegates are equipped with a clear mandate to edit at record speed and accelerate the drafting process,” said Carstensen. “Maybe big targets and big money will only be agreed in Copenhagen, but that can’t be an excuse for wasting time, at least the crucial groundwork must be laid here. We need clarity on what the key elements are for a Copenhagen climate deal.”