…half the purpose of Copenhagen summit – which is for convincing countries for legally binding cuts – has been defeated even before it starts. To view it more deeply, China and India’s firm stand not to agree to legally binding emissions has worked to the benefit of the US which, instead of adopting legally binding emissions, is going for voluntary emissions, the step more suitable to it…
A pre-stage has already been set for the forthcoming Copenhagen summit. Couple of days ago, when PM Manmohan Singh was winding up his state visit, the US President Barack Obama announced his policy of cutting greenhouse gas emissions. China followed the suit, announcing 40-45 per cent emissions cut. Needless to say, the US, China and India are the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases and none has agreed to legally binding emission cuts so far. The US and China’s voluntary announcement of slashing down carbon emissions was a call to India to adopt an identical approach, as Union Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh, instantly interpreted, and New Delhi followed it, as well, coming out with announcement of 20-25 per cent cuts. All these three countries, according to their announcement, will cut their emissions based on their 2005 emissions. This approach of voluntary emissions is for dismissing any legally binding cuts. In other words, half the purpose of Copenhagen summit – which is for convincing countries for legally binding cuts – has been defeated even before it starts on December 7. To view it more deeply, China and India’s firm stand not to agree to legally binding emissions has worked to the benefit of the US which, instead of adopting legally binding emissions, is going for voluntary emissions, the step more suitable to it.
For addressing climate change, all emerging economies – China, India, Brazil, Indonesia etc – were very clear about their aim on the issue till a few weeks ago. They wanted the developed world – which is historically the greatest contributor to greenhouse gases due to industrialization – to adopt legally binding emissions. But they wanted themselves to be spared for any binding for one reason, that agreeing to this means huge expenses leading to rise in production cost, something giving ad to developed countries, which will still be able to produce cheaper products after signing climate deal. Developing countries had presented two options before the developed world: either they were allowed to voluntarily cut emissions as per their convenience, or, developed countries pay them for additional expenses that a climate deal would force in production process. The recent escalations show that all countries, developed or developing, will go for voluntary emissions rather than legally binding ones, something that puts developing economies at loss, too.
The point is that the emerging economies need to do more to achieve a success on climate change. They don’t have to let developed world get away with voluntary cuts and for this, they should be more united on a consensus but more practical, workable proposal, one which doesn’t put disproportionate burden on either developed or developing economies.