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Please Don’t Give Me a Fossil

Posted by NYCA Blogger on December 12, 2009


Rishi and Alina blogging from Copenhagen

Based on the interactions with Hon. Jairam Ramesh, here is an offhand critique of some policy points

India will only agree to a 2 degree limit IF there is an equitable burden sharing mechanism

This statement, I think, deserves Fossil of the Day award. When the debate is on how much lower than 2 degrees, why is India sticking to 2 degrees? While refusing to agree to a peak year for emissions may be sensible, running away from the responsibility to restrict temperature increase to 2 degrees is disappointing.

  • The 20-25% reduction in energy intensity decline

First of all, this is energy intensity and not emission reductions. India’s already on a path of automatic energy intensity reductions as old technology gets phased out and more efficient ones come on line. This commitment is something we could call non additional in UNFCCC lingo.

  • The energy intensity reduction target is aspirational

Playing on words like all the negotiators do. This essentially reduces the intensity target to a political statement rather than anything of substance.

  • Coordinating position with China

After having said that India and China are not in similar national circumstances, the minister said that they are coordinating with China so that a constructive outcome is achieved. So, this essentially seems to be saying that we’ll try to push for a coordinated China-India position and if China reneges by agreeing to a deal, we’ll still hold on to the ‘we’re actually very different from China’ position. Either way, none of these positions could help to achieve a fair and equitable deal that recognizes the urgency of the situation right now.

  • A deal that doesn’t violate the principles of the UNFCCC and the Bali Action Plan

One of the core principles of the UNFCCC that India keeps referring back to is common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR). This explicit recognition of the different circumstances of developed and developing help countries like India to keep away from mitigation commitments as they are still developing. However, it is clear that without major reductions in emissions from advanced developing countries like India, it will be extremely difficult to stabilize GHGs at a safe level. Holding on to these principles is may be valid but won’t be the moral leadership that these negotiations so badly need right now.

  • Nationally accountable mitigation actions

India does not want to submit mitigation actions to be monitored, reported and verified (MRVed). This means that it’s against any registry or scheduling system for unilateral and unsupported actions. He called any international system “intrusive” and gave an example of the US refusing to submit to inspections for biological weapons. Do they realize that carbon emissions could have the same potency and lethality as biological weapons?

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One Response to “Please Don’t Give Me a Fossil”

  1. Myself said

    He represents everything wrong in this world.
    He should receive the fossil of the century.

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