We can make or break it, depending on whether we stand up and are counted or let markets drive democracies
Jacaranda and Gulmohar Hall, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi. March 11-12
Climate change negotiations are by now predictable. The already-industrialised come to each conference of the parties (COP) with a clear game plan, that is, to erase their contribution to the emissions already present in the atmosphere, thereby effectively remove the differentiation between their responsibility and that of the rest of the world to act. This would rewrite the 1992 convention on climate change and let them evade the obligation to provide funds and technology for action in the developing world.
The Indian government must not use “equity” to block climate change negotiations. It must be proactive on equity and put forward a position on how to operationalise the sharing of the carbon budget—accounting for countries’ contribution to past emissions and allocating future space—in climate talks. I wrote this last year when the UPA government was in power. I am repeating this as the NDA government prepares for the next conference of parties (CoP) to be held in December in Peru.
The United States has always been the climate change renegade. For the past 25-odd years, since negotiations for a global agreement to combat the threat of this potential catastrophe began, the US has been the naysayer, pushing against a deal, weakening the draft and always hiding its inaction behind the legitimate growth of emissions in countries like China and India.
Durban, December 8: The latest version of the draft text on the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is out.
November 28, 2011, Durban: Key players at the climate negotiations in Durban presented a preview of their tactics which they might adopt over the next 14 days. On the opening day of CoP17, China made it clear that without finance and technology transfer on the table, the talks were doomed. The US on its part wanted the Cancun Agreement, signed last year, to be operationalised. The European Union stuck to its recent demand that a solution to global warming is only possible if emerging economies like China and India take emission reduction targets.
At an informal meeting today between BASIC and AOSIS, the AOSIS group has reportedly given an ultimatum to BASIC, saying that it will not support BASIC unless the major economies come up with some sort of ambitious mitigation targets.
Durban, December 6: The verbal battle of Durban was fought in a plenary at the Nkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre. It was fought on December 5, 2011, 10:00 am to 11:30 am. Here is a no-holds barred version of the battle. We apologise for this rather lengthy posting. It was, after all, a verbal battle. If you only want to know how India weighed in, rhetorical mace and all, scroll to the last bit. Thanks for your patience. Here goes:
"I have come to Durban with an open mind. But I would like to know whether it would be binding only for mitigation and whether it will be the same for Annex-1 and non-Annex1 countries.
The discussion on the latest draft decision text and language has been thrown open, for Tuvalu has made a strong and determined representation against the use of new market mechanisms as instruments of climate mitigation in the climate treaty of the future. We are scanning the document. More on it later.
Agenda item 3.2.5: Various approaches, including opportunities for using markets, to enhance the cost-effectiveness of, and to promote, mitigation actions, bearing in mind different circumstances of developed and developing countries
The climate talk at Durban is heading for a stalemate. I do not see any major breakthrough other than some sort of “Durban declaration / mandate” to take the negotiation process forward. We might also have some decision on Green Climate Fund and its architecture, which the host South Africa and the African Union is pushing for.