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NEW DELHI: The EU has shifted its goalpost for climate change again, unilaterally seeking talks on a new global protocol from this year that puts India and other developing nations at par with developed world.

Ironically, the new condition, if implemented, will exempt Europe from divulging its targets for emission reduction in violation of the existing Kyoto Protocol. Significantly, it will make the Kyoto Protocol’s second phase – slated to start from next year – redundant. Also, it will compel India bring binding commitments to reduce emissions by as early as 2015.

Predictably, the move has found support from EU’s tactical allies in climate talks – the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) – but has been opposed by China, India, Brazil and other larger developing countries.

The EU had fought hard with India and other emerging economies at Durban last December to accept a middle path about a new global agreement to be implemented by 2020. In lieu, the EU was required to, along with other developed countries (except for the US), to commit to targets to reduce their emissions under the second phase of Kyoto Protocol.

India, however, objected to deciding upon the legal form of the new post-2020 arrangement, even before key issues of equity and ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ could be finalized.

Now, the EU has demanded that a draft protocol be put on the table that would break the firewall between the responsibilities of rich and developing world to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

The differences among EU, AOSIS and rest of developing world is expected to turn the upcoming Bonn talks into a bitterly argumentative affair.

Indian climate negotiators pointed out that EU’s demand would leave the question of existing commitments by rich world on finance and technology transfer as well as emission reduction in limbo, forcing the world at large to dump equity and move to a new regime, where greater and costly responsibilities will have to be borne by bigger developing economies.

Earlier, India had stated to UN that it would not accept any new global deal till countries agree to a formula to implement the principle of equity, which forces developed world to own up to the accumulated emissions in the atmosphere and not distribute the residual space among all nations.

The Times of India, 10 May 2012