Towards a New world Environment Order

India has once again proved that it can protect its own and developing countries’ interest at international fora. It all happened at the Indonesian holiday resort, Bali, where about 190 countries from across the globe entered into a roadmap to take action to reduce greenhouse emissions in the atmosphere forcing climate change.

In this UN conference on climate change India achieved a tough deal. It forcefully argued and defended against imposition of binding targets on developing countries and made the rich, industrialised nations to provide fund and support transfer of clean technology to poor and developing countries. Timely initiative by India at the fort-night long meet ensured that the developed countries cannot simply put the onus on the poor nations. Accordingly a decision was taken at the extended session where leaders have decided to adhere to new set of principles, that will, over the next two years, help the countries decide a post 2012 deal.

By next two years, the deal will be drawn making it clear what is expected from each country.

Under the United Nations Treaty called the UN framework on climate change, there is an existing deal called the Kyoto Protocol. It demands that the 36 big emitters, mostly industrialised nations, reduce their emissions by a fixed percentage by 2012. Bali conference was to discuss what happens after 2012. The Kyoto protocol expires in 2012. At present only the rich nations, responsible for more than 70 percent of emissions, are expected to cut carbon emissions.

But they demanded that after 2012, even the developing countries also start some kind of emission cuts. This means a complete u- turn of the existing treaty. India and other similarly placed countries contend that such a step will pose a hurdle for economic growth. India argued that the rich countries who are the worst polluters should take responsibility. This argument has been taken care of and a roadmap for the future course of action finalised.

An Indian delegate at the end of the conference said, “fourteen days of negotiations, running deep into mid-night on several occasions, finally brought us to the showdown. So, the rich nations should support a fund and clean technologies to make the not so rich to cut emissions. This will help these countries not to sacrifice their economic growth which is vital”.

The Science and Technology Minister Shri Kapil Sibal said, “it was a hard fought win, but we have secured India’s position in the two year negotiations that delegates have agreed at Bali and which will be completed by 2009”.

Explaining the 90 minute high drama on the last day of the meeting, an Indian official said that a critical resolution demanding that the rich work on transferring clean technologies and fund such mechanisms for the sake of developing world was left out at the discussions and instead an American resolution demanding commitments from the developing world got floated.

At this point India intervened to put forth its position and the European Union supported it besides the developing nations. Finally it was agreed that such countries would undertake climate change mitigation along with rich nations passing on technologies and funding that would help them to pursue economic growth and also cut emissions.

Environmentalist who heads the Nobel Prize winning inter governmental panel on climate change, Mr.R.K.Pachauri said, “the future is going to be a low-carbon society and those who accept the fact are going to be the winners and those who don’t will be left behind. The Indian industry will be the vanguard of this change. There is a need to bring about a technology revolution in India in the sectors like transport, power and building. India needs to make judicious use of water, electricity and build more rural infrastructure”.

China and the entire G-77 and the EU have supported India’s brought amendment at the Bali conference of the UN framework convention on climate change. All nations have agreed on an action plan on a war-footing for combating climate change.

The UNFCCC has agreed to help protect forests through special funding, as part of Bali roadmap. India on its part has taken steps where-ever possible and which are within its reach. If all countries follow such actions a successful climate framework will be just two years away.

Cooperation and coordination are needed at this hour to face the alarming consequences of climate change. These should come from both the rich and the not so rich nations world-wide. Any backing out of the consensus reached at the Bali conference will only put the entire world into a boiling point.

by Smt. Sumathi Vishwanathan
*A Retired Indian Information Service Officer

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