Climate accord blueprint delivered at Paris talks, India hopes for ‘just’ outcome

Paris(PTI): A blueprint for a pact to cap greenhouse gas emissions and slow global warming was delivered on Saturday by negotiators from 195 nations as India hoped for a “just and equitable” outcome at the climate conference.

Prakash Javadekar

The 48-page draft, that still contains all the unresolved options on the key issues at stake, 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 the 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 short of what is needed to cap global warming at 2.0 degrees Celsius or below. Observers said very little actual progress has been made in terms of compromises and agreements on contentious points. However, some progress had been made on loss and damage and many hurdles have been cleared to smooth future talks.

The draft negotiating text will now be discussed line by line by the ministers of all the countries before reaching an agreement. “Negotiators have agreed on a new draft agreement which has clearer options and indicates more common ground. Though there is plenty of hard work ahead, the table is now set for ministers to get this done,” said Jennifer Morgan, Director of the Global Climate Programme at the World Resources Institute.
India came to Paris with a constructive tone and its leadership in forming an International Solar Alliance demonstrated its assertiveness in framing the climate talks, observers said.

Terming India’s concerns on energy use as legitimate, they said India has been able to engage on those issues in good faith, exploring how faster means of implementation can help support a faster transition to renewable energy and break its reliance on coal. 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 yesterday that adaptation has a direct link with climate justice and poverty and the need for adaptation takes a higher toll on poor people.

Elaborating on what can be expected from the second week of the conference, observers said countries have made clear their key issues and all nations are supporting the process set out by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius which is a good sign and the ministers can now get down to work. “We will need to see some real leadership from the developed world and more leadership from China, which has been notable for its backseat position,” an observer said.

Indian negotiator Kumar said, “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.” 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”. Developing countries need money and technology to make the switch to clean energy sources like solar and wind power.

They are also asking for money to adapt to climate change. The developed countries are willing to help but reluctant to make firm commitments as negotiators from over 190 nations look to negotiate a post-2020 deal to curb emissions and limit global temperature rise.