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Interview: India blinked at the Cancun Climate Summit.

The Indian negotiating team, led by Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh shifted India’s position at the Cancun Conference on climate change, said Samir Saran, Vice President, Observer Research Foundation, in an interview to a website,

Asked whether India blinked at Cancun and the Indian Minister significantly shifted from India’s long-standing position that the developed economies take full responsibility for climate change by indicating that India would also take on binding emission targets, Samir Saran said “Yes, India blinked. Regrettably! I may add. Given that India has undertaken to contribute to the effort to limit temperature rise to a two-degree- limit, it may have opened itself to international pressure that will seek to both curb its’ emissions or direct its development pattern”.

He said this was not only unfair, given that Indians emit only a fraction of what the citizens of developed countries do, but it seemed part of a larger effort to weaken the obligations and commitments that the Annex 1 countries had undertaken after two decades of global negotiations and concerted efforts by the least developed countries and India. Samir Saran said the Minister and his team have not only shifted India’s negotiating position but have arguably undone the efforts of the past in an instant. “I hope we can salvage it,” he added.

He said the entire international climate debate is actually about national interests and power politics. “Take China, for example, now that they have built an industry that can export technology and the products needed for low carbon growth, such as renewable energies, there are signs that they are ready to support a more universal emission reduction regime. And perhaps that prompted India to play the part it did.. the fear of being alone… which, I believe, is greatly overstated. Perhaps there is no harm in being alone once in a while,” he said.

“But sadly, while we all understand that climate change is a great and grave risk and that there is an urgent need to reduce emissions by those best able to, international negotiations today remain hostage to power politics and national interest increasingly understood by the economic gains for respective national businesses,” Samir Saran told the publication.

For complete text of the interview, click here 


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