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India Thwarts Move On New Climate Change Mechanism

India has thwarted a move by rich countries to have a small group to decide uniform guidelines to implement climate change mitigation action review regime in each country. Instead, India convinced them that each country should submit its own version of guidelines for consideration at the next UN conference in Panama City in October.

Review of climate change mitigation actions, is the hottest issue of climate negotiators of 195 nations. Europe and US have been insisting on a regime for analysis of domestic mitigation actions of emerging economies such as India and China for agreeing to any climate treaty, a move being resisted by the developing world.

Rich countries led by Europe, proposed at a meeting of a small informal group of climate negotiators in New Zealand last month that a sub-group should be constituted to finalise the guidelines to operationalise the verification regime.

The meeting was called to work on a draft for adoption at the next UN climate change conference of the 195 nations at Durban in November-December this year. The verification mechanism was a hotly debated issue at the meeting.

“These draft guidelines would have become basis for further deliberations on the proposed verification regime. It would have become difficult to introduce new ideas,” a government official said.

The move was first opposed by Saudi Arabia and then backed by India. Both the countries were of the view that such a sub-group will undermine the individuality of nations as legislative procedures in countries are different.

“The executive cannot decide on a legal framework. It is (the) job of the legislative,” said the official, saying the guidelines are a legal instrument to be approved by the Parliament.

Convinced by the view put forth by India, the group decided that each country will submit its version of the guidelines for domestic review regime, called international consultation and analysis (ICA), before the next climate conference in Panama city.

The Environment ministry will work out the guidelines in consultation with key ministers such as Commerce and External Affairs and the Planning Commission. It is for the first time India is working on a paper for having guidelines for international review of its domestic climate change mitigation actions.

Recently, US chief climate negotiator Todd Stern had urged Environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan to put in a mechanism to allow ICA of the domestic mitigation actions so that rich countries could evaluate how India is checking its emission growth. Natarajan was, however, non-committal and said that India will decide on the policy in consonance with its Constitutional framework, which allows domestic actions to be reviewed only by the Parliament. India is open to allow verification of mitigation action funded by rich countries.

Hindustan Times, 2 August 2011