Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Millennium Challenge: Is Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions an Option

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times
Email Author
New Delhi, May 22, 2007
First Published: 20:47 IST(22/5/2007)
Last Updated: 23:30 IST(22/5/2007)

India would oppose any move to seek its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emission in post Kyoto Protocol era and will ask the developed world to transfer Intellectual Property Rights with clean technologies. Climate change would be discussed at the next G8 meeting in Rostock, Germany.

The reason for the firm stand is evident in a note circulated by the environment ministry at a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week. "India per capita emission of carbon dioxide was just 0.87 tonnes in 1994 and was lowest in the world. It was just four per cent of US per capita emission, eight per cent of UK's and 10 per cent of Japan's and 23 per cent of the global average," the note said.

EU has proposed that it would reduce carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 from the 1990 levels and deepen it to 30 per cent by 2030 provided India, China and United States take commitment to stabilise and reduce green house emissions. Under Kyoto Protocol that expires in 2012 India and China have no obligation to reduce emissions whereas US has not ratified the protocol.

The ministry does not find much logic in the proposal saying the developed world has agreed to reduce emission by only 8 per cent after Kyoto Protocol. The developed world has to reduce emissions by 12 per cent from the 1990 level by 2012, which they may not meet, the ministry stated.

Another danger of agreeing to any commitment, the ministry said, was that in future India might have to take on higher level of emission reductions.

India's successful Clean Development Mechanism programme may face a slowdown from the developed world because some countries have put a cap on buying carbon credits from the developing countries. India has largest number of projects registered under the mechanism in the world, which allows them to sell carbon credits to the developed countries.

The oft-repeated offer of the developed world's to share clean technologies with developing countries is somewhat lop-sided because the intellectual property rights are not transferred, the ministry said. "Developed countries are not showing interest in procuring and transferring the rights in the interest of present climate change ignoring the agreements made earlier in interest of other global concerns like HIV/AIDS," the ministry said. The ministry wants the rights to come with the technologies to reduce cost of climate change mitigation.

The ministry expressed doubts over various energy efficiency measures like carbon capture and storage saying they are not realistic. "Energy efficiency measures borne out by experience in developed countries has shown that aggregate emission of CO continue to rise," it said.

The ministry termed the demand of reduction in coal usage in power as anti-national but said the government had taken several steps for climate change mitigation like power sector reforms, promotion of clean technologies, efficient utilization of coal and environment friendly mass transport system.

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