India has opposed any attempt to impose universal green targets on developing countries in the name of sustainable development goals.
The move to put targets, such as using a fixed percentage of renewable energy in the power mix of a country, has crept in to talks in the on-going Rio+20 dialogue: a review of what the world has achieved after the 1992 United Nations’ Conference on Environment and Development ( UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg.
The Rio+20 meeting will be held in next June, and a political declaration for it is being negotiated among nations.
India has placed its reservations in the negotiations about imposing a carbon tax through the back door or using trade measures to force such unfair targets on developing nations.
“India does not support defining and aiming for quantitative targets or goals towards sustainable development,” the government has stated before the UN.
The theme of green economy is being built in the run-up to the next year’s meeting and India believes this could become another route of imposing targets upon developing countries drawing resources away from the priority of poverty alleviation. It has noted that developing economies have a sovereign right to exploit its natural resources pursuant to its own priorities.
New Delhi has also put on record that it is averse to any global targets being imposed for reducing subsidies on social goods in the name of ‘getting prices right’ – another theme that the UN is pursuing. The phrase lends itself to allowing markets to operate without any intervention by the governments, even in supply of essential services like drinking water, food, public health, access to power or education.
For India, which runs some of the largest social security support programmes in the world, accepting such a global diktat would imply winding down all such pro-poor schemes. It has pointed out that the Rio Conference had agreed that conspicuous consumption and unsustainable lifestyles in the developed countries should be rationalized to reduce the per capita consumption footprints and this should be pursued in the new regime too to provide space for growth in the developing world.