India envoy: ‘Not enough progress towards a climate deal’

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Despite the need to come up with a global climate deal by the end of the year in Copenhagen, diplomats involved in the negotiations are not making enough progress, India’s special envoy on climate change, Shyam Saran, told EURACTIV in an exclusive interview.

“It would be wrong to say that we did not make any progress. But we achieved much less than what we should have achieved by this time if we wanted to have an ambitious package in Copenhagen,” said Saran. 

According to the Indian envoy, there is still too much of a ‘wait and see’ attitude towards the US and the legislation being pursued in the US Congress. The issue of comparability of efforts among industrialised countries is an important consideration, said Saran. 

As for developing countries, they “need to have a clear indication of what developed countries intend to do in terms of emissions reductions,” said the Indian official, rebuffing the argument that emerging economies should also abide by legally-binding emissions targets. 

Since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommended sticking to a 25 to 40% target for emissions reductions by 2020, “we suggest keeping the target at 40% rather than at the low end of the spectrum. That would be ambitious,” Saran said, urging developed countries to define clear and bold targets. 

A major concern for developing countries, the Indian envoy noted, is the adequacy of financial resources that can be made available within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to support both mitigating and adapting impacts of climate change. 

“We are doing much more within the limit of our resources than, I am afraid, many developed countries are doing within the capabilities they possess,” he said, stressing that India was already spending over 2% of its GDP on adaptation and that figures were likely to go up significantly, diverting funding away from social development. 

Thus Saran argued that the outcome of Copenhagen must be based on equal burden-sharing, and must incorporate the economic and social development imperatives of developing countries. 

Over the last decade, India has delivered 8-9% growth, with an energy growth of only 3.5-3.7%. “That is already a deviation from what would be an arithmetical check,” said Saran. But he noted that funding schemes and technology transfer should be scaled up to allow developing countries to continue their development. 

“We are adopting very ambitious plan in India for the development of renewable resources, but our ability to scale this up and therefore have a larger renewable component in our energy by 2020 would depend on the global climate change regime we have,” Saran concluded.

To read the interview in full, please click here.  

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