Hope for Copenhagen

doi:10.1038/nindia.2009.347 Published online 1 December 2009

Rajendra K. Pachauri

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is optimistic of reaching a good deal at the Copenhagen summit scheduled between December 7 and 18 following positive signals from two major players in the emissions debate — the US and China.

IPCC chairperson Rajendra K. Pachauri told a press meet here today (December 1, 2009) that this in turn would put more pressure on India, which needs to quantify steps being taken to reduce global warming.

"India is at the crossroads," Pachauri said urging Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to attend the Copenhagen summit to send out a message to the world "that India is a deal maker and not a deal breaker."

The US announcement to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 17 per cent by 2020 and China's to reduce GHG intensity of its economy by 40-45 per cent by 2020 as compared to 2005, would put pressure on India to come up with similar quantitative commitments. Pachauri feels India must bargain at Copenhagen for large-scale resources to finance its solar mission in a bid to shift towards renewable energy sources.

Copenhagen will be a success only if industrialised countries collectively agree to reduce emission targets by 2020 by around 20 per cent; provide financial assistance to developing countries to cope with climate change effects; and transfer affordable green technologies through a technology fund.

India should then lay its National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) on the table. The IPCC chief said "there was no question of India accepting legally binding emission cuts."

"It is totally unacceptable and I don't think anybody in India would favour it given that 400 million people are still to have access to electricity," he said.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will assemble countries from across the world at Copenhagen next week for a final round of talks on a climate accord that will replace the historic 1997 Kyoto Protocol expiring in 2012.