December 12, 2009

Jairam Naresh addressing Indian Media and CSOs

By Soumya Dutta
India’s official delegation finally addressed the mounting concern and criticism from the poorer developing nations, the Small Island States and the African States, and in his first address to the Indian media and Indian civil society, Minister of Environment & Forests Mr. Jairam Ramesh told that – 1) We are with G77, and no question of breaking away, 2) We are talking with the African countries, and that the 'BASIC' draft jointly circulated by the large developing countries matches very closely with the African draft, and India will make all efforts to closely coordinate its negotiating stand with the African countries, 3) that India is closely coordinating with China on its negotiating position, though he was clear that by total emissions, by per capita emissions, and by financial strength - China is a league ahead of India.On the question of why India had to endorse the G8 position of limiting global temp rise to 2 deg Centigrade, and not support the Small Island States and African position of limiting to 1.5 Deg C, Jairam was evasive and took shelter behind the excuse that science is evolving and targets changing.The arrogance with which the minister brushed aside the extreme concern of the threatened-with-submergence Small Island States - by stating brashly "the Maldives President is repeatedly phoning me, but I am not picking up the phone" - shocked many of us present at the briefing at Asger Jorn Room at the Bella Center, from 7 to 8 PM on Dec 11.The youth climate activists from India heckled Jairam Ramesh for his fuzzing statements about uncertainty of Himalayan Glaciers melting and their "apparent lack of connection with global warming". He was again evasive, not giving any concrete answer, but loudly claimed that there is no "Conclusive proof'.Ramesh also asserted that there is no question of India accepting absolute and internationally binding emission cuts, but our voluntary action will be to reduce emission intensity by 20-25% by 2020, and that we will be accountable to our own parliament. He also strongly reiterated Indian Government position of not accepting Monitoring, Reporting, Verification of national mitigation efforts where no outside funding is received.Overall, there was hardly any positive change from the somewhat regressive stand that India and large developing economies have come to be identified with, except his assertions that India will stand together with poorer countries in G77+China.


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