Jairam drops a bombshell, blasts a hole in India’s negotiating stance | Centre for Science and Environment

Jairam drops a bombshell, blasts a hole in India’s negotiating stance

  • CSE lambasts minister’s support to “binding commitment for all countries under appropriate legal form”
  • India has always said its domestic mitigation actions are voluntary and not internationally binding. Minister’s statement contradicts this stand
  • Removes the distinction between developed and developing world

Related storyl: India stuns all at Cancun by opening up to binding emission commitments
Cancun, December 8, 2010: The penny has dropped. Today, at the ongoing 16th Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC in Cancun, India’s environment minister, Jairam Ramesh made a startling statement: “All countries, we believe, must take on binding commitments under appropriate legal form.” According to Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), this can only be construed as a complete departure from India’s traditional position in climate change negotiations.

Interestingly, the minister’s official printed speech did not contain this statement. The minister reportedly added it extempore as he delivered his speech.

India has always maintained that its domestic mitigation actions (reduction in emissions intensity of the economy by 20-25 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020) are voluntary in nature and not binding international commitments. Said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director, CSE: “This is most unfortunate and uncalled for. The minister’s statement opens another door for internationalising India’s domestic commitments.”

Giving in, step by calculated step
In a pre-CoP meeting in Mexico, Ramesh had taken a first step towards internationalising India’s domestic commitments by agreeing on International Consultation and Analysis (ICA) of domestic actions. He followed this up by putting the ICA proposal in front of the BASIC group and arguing for it – today, with the BASIC group’s broad agreement on the proposal, ICA has become a part of the negotiating text.

Now he has moved a step forward and, as his statement suggests, opened the doors for converting India’s domestic actions into international commitment. CSE believes that this is the beginning of the process which will lead to removal of distinctions between developing and developed countries, which is the cornerstone of the UNFCCC.

Industrialised or developed countries have a historical responsibility to cut emissions, since they have been emitting for several years. The developing world, on the other hand, needs the right to develop. This is the key premise that differentiates the two blocs from each other.

Ramesh claimed that he had been under tremendous pressure to come out with this statement. Remarked Chandra Bhushan: ”It is difficult to understand what kind of pressure might have forced the minister to buckle down in this manner. Haven’t Indian negotiators stood their ground all these years despite all the pressure?”

•    For more on this, just write to Chandra Bhushan at chandra@cseindia.org



  • Vapi a critically polluted industrial cluster in Gujarat listed by Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) (Photo Credits - Sayantoni Palchoudhuri/ CSE)

  • New Delhi, India
    November 6-7, 2014

    Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), the New Delhi (India)-based research and advocacy organisation, invites applications from journalists to attend its Annual Media Briefing on Climate Change. The briefing will be held in New Delhi on November 6-7, 2014. It will bring together media people and experts from countries of the Global South to discuss and debate a range of contemporary issues covering the science, politics, negotiations and impacts of climate change.

    CSE has been conducting this annual media meet – but only for South Asian journalists -- since 2009. This year, the event has been opened up to journalists from other countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

    CSE will support the travel and accommodation of selected participants.

    • For any queries, please write to the following:

    Souparno Banerjee
    Email: souparno@cseindia.org


    Papia Samajdar
    Email: papia@cseindia.org

    Register here>>


    The Media Resource Centre

    Souparno Banerjee, programme director
    Email: souparno@cseindia.org

    Papia Samajdar, deputy programme manager
    Email: papia@cseindia.org

    Sheeba Madan, programme officer
    Email: sheeba@cseinda.org

    Aavika Dhanda, intern

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