Le Bourget (France): A blueprint for a pact to cap greenhouse gas emissions and slow global warming was delivered today by negotiators from 195 nations as India hoped for a “just and equitable” outcome at the climate conference. The 48-page draft accord, still entailing conflicting proposals, will form the basis on which ministers from across the globe, including Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, will try to formulate a binding deal.
As the high-stake climate talks entered its sixth day, negotiators appeared confident that some kind of deal will be reached before next weekend and they will be able to avert a repeat of the 2009 Copenhagen summit — that failed miserably. Analysts said any deal emerging from Paris is likely to fall hort of what is needed to cap global warming at 2.0 degrees Celsius or below. Meanwhile, India is hoping for a “just and equitable” outcome at the Paris summit.
“India is looking at a just and equitable outcome firmly anchored in the UNFCCC. India’s priorities are both mitigation and adaptation and both are equally important,” said Susheel Kumar, one of the negotiators. He said that adaptation has a direct link with climate justice and poverty and the need for adaptation takes a higher toll on poor people.
“Developed nations say mitigation is the way out and therefore more important. India says adaptation is equally important. India is strongly supportive of food security. Adaptation in the agriculture sector will ensure food security,” he said yesterday.
Asked about predicting India’s peaking year, he said that the country has consulted technical experts and institutions to make an assessment of whether the country can project a peaking year. “We were advised that it is premature to predict the peaking year for carbon emissions because of our low economic development compared to China,” he said.
Also yesterday, US special envoy for climate change Todd Stern said India and the US are working in a “constructive way” for a climate deal that is comfortable to both. “India and US have a very strong history of working collaboratively. That is going on right now,” Stern said.
Stern said he had four to five meetings with Indian counterparts in the last one week and both nations are working “quite intensively in a business and constructive way”. His statement came in the backdrop of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s remark ahead of the talks that India will be a “challenge”.
Scientists warn that the planet will become increasingly hostile to mankind as it warms, causing rise in sea levels and extreme weather patterns completely contrast to present times. But to slow the climate change requires a rapid shift to clean energy –mainly moving away from burning coal, oil and gas for energy.
India is expected to become the world’s biggest importer of coal by 2020 as it seeks to meet its energy requirements. India’s national climate plan, submitted ahead of this meeting, suggests a significant role for coal going forward. While India has been targeted for expanding its coal usage, New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment said focusing only on coal and India was an “unnecessary distraction” and creating “bad blood” at the conference. The green body called it a “well planned campaign”. A campaign to bring the narrative that India is going to burn the world with coal is the “only negative counter narrative” but it will not help, it said.
“We are disconcerted with the language being used here. Focusing on only coal and only India is an unnecessary distraction. It is creating a lot of bad blood in Paris,” said CSE deputy director general Chandra Bhushan. “It looks like a well-planned campaign to ensure that the issue of carbon budget where one needs to take into account the historical responsibility of nations (on emissions) and equity issue in the climate debate here is being treated as obstruction.”
Hitting out at the US and other developed nations, Bhushan said coal is being used and will continue to be used in both developed and developing nations. “Coal is a major source of power sector in both developed and developing countries. The availability of gas in India and China is low, we have coal and we use it,” he said.
Bhushan said coal usage in the US in 2014 was more than what it was in 1990. The US consumes more fossil fuel than ever before in history, he said.
Another green advocacy group, Greenpeace has dismissed India’s portrayal as a possible “spoiler” at the negotiations. It said India can play a “heroic” role at the Paris climate talks, adding that the country was paying a price for something it was not responsible for.
Participants have said that the negotiations are too slow for a December 11 deadline. But such deadlines have been ignored earlier, with negotiators often deliberating through the night to get an accord to limit rising global temperatures this century to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.