02 October 2009

India to US: We Laugh at Your Measly Targets

Jairam Ramesh, India's environment minister, knows a good negotiating position when he has one. So India now ups the pressure on the United States in order to ensure that India is not tagged as the global bad guy of climate policy. In the Guardian he refers to the Kerry-Boxer Bill in the Senate as not really up to the task:

"The bill that was with the Senate yesterday talks about a 20% cut on 2005 levels, which is really only a measly 5% reduction on 1990 levels," Ramesh told a US-Indian energy conference in Washington, put on by Yale University and The Energy and Resources Institute in Delhi.

He added that America and other developed countries had to commit to deep emissions cuts in the next decade – not by 2050 – if they wanted to see India and China take serious action to contain the rise in their future emissions, as their surging economies expand.

"If we are serious about climate change we should stop talking about 2050. I laugh when countries put up numbers for 2050," Ramesh said.

However, he was almost immediately rebuffed by Obama's climate change envoy, Todd Stern, who said that such a narrow focus on 2020 actions could wreck the prospects of reaching a deal at Copenhagen. "We can talk about that all the way to Copenhagen and for the next two or three years and get nothing done," Stern said. "We have to be practical."

India has categorically stated that they will not commit to limit emissions, and in that they have the support of the chairman of the "policy neutral" IPCC:
. . . Ramesh ruled out any possibility that India would agree to an absolute cap on emissions in the future. "N-O, No," he said. The position was endorsed by RK Pachauri, who heads the IPCC. "Obviously you are not going to ask a country that has 400 million people without a lightbulb in their homes to do the same as a country that has splurge of energy," he told the conference."
And if the US doesn't like it, then its just tough luck, as India has the upper hand here.