India's Environment Minister Calls For Unconditional Emissions Cuts
photo: Yodel Anecdotal/Yahoo! Inc. via flickr.
It's a tantalizing shift in climate change position from India: Reuters reports that Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has urged the prime minister to accept national emission reductions at COP15, without them being tied to financial commitments and technological support from the US and other rich nations: More Nuanced Position Needed
In the letter, Ramesh told prime minister Manmohan Singh,
The position we take on international mitigation commitments only supported by finance and technology needs to be nuanced simply because we need to mitigate in self-interest.
Ramesh went on to say, "We should be pragmatic and constructive, not argumentative and polemical ... India should listen more and speak less in negotiations."
In the end, the letter urged India's breaking away from the Group of 77 developing nations and align itself with the G20.
So what's the big deal?
First of all, India is now the world's fourth largest emitter of carbon. And its full participation in an international climate change agreement is crucial to its success.
Second of all, it has for months now been saying that it would not commit to binding emissions targets under an international agreement -- though would have domestic targets -- and that mitigation/adaptation aid money, plus facilitation of technology transfer, were prerequisites for participation in an international climate change agreement.
So, in short, should Ramesh's suggestions be taken to heart and implemented, the negotiating gap between India and developed nations would be narrowed somewhat. A good thing indeed.
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