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India’s Red Line: No Outside Review Of National Climate Policy

Vishwa Mohan,, Times of India

India will not allow any outside body to review progress of its “intended” climate targets and measures as these will be “nationally determined” contributions.  Developing countries will need Western climate funding of $600 billion to $1500 billion per year by 2050.

Opposing one of the key components of the negotiations which is being strongly pushed by all European Union (EU) countries and civil society, India on Tuesday categorically told the climate conference that the country will not allow any outside body to review progress of its “intended” targets/measures as these will be “nationally determined” contributions. 

Making India’s stand amply clear on the issue of “progress review”, Indian environment and climate change minister Prakash Javadekar said, “We do not see any role for any ex-ante review in this process”.

China and most of the developing countries have the same view on the issue.

Interestingly, the EU and US are not on the same page on this issue. While EU wants review of countries’ actions, the US takes a middle path, saying the important issue is to encourage countries to be ambitious with their targets.

Referring to the contentious issue of adding the “progress review” Javadekar,however, said, “We firmly believe that the INDCs are to be ‘nationally determined’. We do not see any role for any ex-ante review in this process. The INDCs should include all elements including mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology and capacity building”.

Civil societies and research groups have, however, opposed India’s stand. The New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has termed the Javadekar’s statement that India would not support ex-ante review of the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDCs) — as ‘regressive’.

“Review of INDCs is one of ways in which the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibility and respective capability can be brought back into the climate change negotiations. But India is neither supporting the review nor proposing any alternative mechanism”, said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of CSE.

Bhushan, who is attending the climate conference here in Lima as observer, cited an example. He said, “Presently, there is no provision to hold countries like the US accountable, which is proposing just 12-14% emissions reduction by 2025 from 1990 levels”

Calling Lima negotiations as “COP of Hope”, the minister, however, added the conditions which may guide India on the path to an “ambitious, comprehensive and equitable agreement at Paris next year”.

Enlisting those conditions as his country’s position during the negotiations, the minister said, “It should be able to address the genuine requirements of the developing countries by providing them equitable carbon space to achieve sustainable development and eradicate poverty.

“The new agreement is under the convention (UNFCCC). Let us be clear, it is the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol that is ending in 2020, not the convention. Adherence to the principles and provisions of the Convention is the key”.

He emphasized that the “beautiful balance of collective action — the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDRs) — should form the basis of continued action. It is equally evident that developing countries could do more if finance, technology support and capacity building is ensured. This must be a key focus of the new agreement”.

The remarks come at a time when the rich nations are trying to dilute the provisions of the CBDRs which are ingrained in the principles of the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol.

Showing a mirror to developed countries by bringing the pre-2020 period to the fore, he said, “Our ambition in the post-2020 period is directly linked with ambitious actions in the pre-2020 period by the developed countries, otherwise the poor people in developing countries will not get the carbon space to achieve sustainable development.

“If we believe that the global warming threat is real, then we must deliver on the agreed commitments as a matter of priority. It is important therefore for developed country parties to urgently fulfill their legal obligations in the pre-2020 period. They must scale up their mitigation ambition now and urgently fulfill their promises for providing financial and technological support to developing countries”.

On other contentious issue of including adaptation goal in the treaty, he said, “Adaptation is a central and critical priority for developing countries to address Climate Change. The new post-2020 agreement should ensure a balance between mitigation and adaptation. The urgent need for adaptation must be fully reflected in the new agreement.”

In his intervention on Green Climate Fund during the talks, Javadekar also pitched for bigger kitty of climate finance from the developed world.

He said developing countries need for mitigation and adaptation was being estimated in the range of $600 billion to $1500 billion per year (by 2050). He enlisted India’s ongoing adaptation measures and emphasized on making “adaptation” goal as part of the future global treaty.

He also focused on the reluctance of the rich nations to contribute to the Green Climate Fund. “Some announcements have been made by some countries to contribute to the Green Climate Fund. However, the scale of these announcements remains far from what has been pledged”, he said in reference to the goal of 100 billion dollars in the GCF.

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