Sunday, June 29, 2008

India ready with climate action plan

The Times of India: The National Action Plan on Climate Change has been finalised and would in all probability released by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday. After two rounds of to and fro between different lobbies in the climate change council and within the government, the plan finally weds India's international negotiating stance with a domestic agenda on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

As reported by TOI, the plan contains a canvas for eight missions on climate mitigation and adaptation. Once the plan is officially released, the relevant ministries would be asked to draw up detailed plans and present them before the PM's Climate Change Council by September. The plan, though a roadmap for action on the domestic front, is bound to back up the Indian position at the special session on climate change at the G8+5 talks in Japan in the first week of July.

India has been feeling the heat from several key countries in the past couple of months over its international stance. The document will help bolster the country's argument that it is ready to take an array of 'no-regret' actions — steps towards a low carbon economy that don't come at the cost of its poverty alleviation and growth targets. This is bound to help India, as it has China, that with action being taken on a national level, despite relatively very low level of GHG emissions at present, India should not be expected to take on commitments under an international compact.

June saw developed countries try hard at several fora to corner India and China to principally agree with such an international compact. Earlier in June during the G8+3 (India, China and South Korea) meet, host country Japan tried to force international sectoral efficiency standards. These would force India's key manufacturing sectors to adhere to international energy efficiency norms with the playing field naturally tilted against Indian industry.

…"The developed countries seem to be intransigent on their demand that India and China commit to emission cuts," said one of the negotiators. While the domestic plan is expected to take some of the edge off the arguments of rich countries that India is not doing enough back home, the battle cries are going to only get shriller as Copenhagen appears on the horizon. By 2009, the UN convention on climate change is expected to finalise the new compact for emission reductions at its meet in Copenhagen.

The national emblem of India, rendered by "Nichalp" (apparently), Wikimedia Commons, under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License

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