India, China defensive on climate deal

A veil of secrecy shrouded the penultimate day of COP 17 with pressure mounting on countries to come clean on their positions. India and China remained on the defensive, finding it difficult to face the EU onslaught.

South Africa, the host country, is also under tremendous pressure to establish the ground for a deal on greenhouse gases.

The COP 17 president, South African Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, said, “We need to leave with convergence on the future process. This is where we are at present. Parties want a green climate fund to be launched now but we also need long-term finance so that we do not launch an empty shell.”

She said, “Are we working slower than expected? No, no, no.”

Her words may sound reassuring but they do not take away from the intense diplomatic pressure being exerted on Beijing and New Delhi to agree to a new global agreement on climate change.

Under this plan, all the world’s major emitters from the developed and developing world will negotiate a new pact in 2015 to cut emissions from 2020.

India and China are not unwilling to discuss these details but they have clarified the road map being unfolded must have equity as its centrepiece.

India, China being arm-twisted: CSE

India and China being arm-twisted to sign the Durban Declaration and take on legally binding emissions is being interpreted by Sunita Narain, director general of the Centre for Science & Environment, as a major setback for developing nations.

“If this happens, we will leave South Africa with a new climate apartheid regime in place. It will mean rich, powerful countries continue to be pitted against developing nations. This will lead to more conflict, more tension, more distrust and that is bad for climate change,” said Narain whose NGO has been pushing for bridging of the emission gap between the historic polluters and the developing nations at COP 17 meet.

The EU is claiming that 120 countries, including Brazil, Canada and several African nations, have thrown their weight behind their proposal that imposes binding emission cuts on all the signatories.

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