Indian team leaves for Washington tomorrow for Bush conference

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New Delhi, Sept 24 (UNI) A high-level Indian delegation is leaving for Washington tomorrow to take part in a conference on reducing emission of grenhouse gases at the invitation of the White House.

The meet was mooted by the Bush administration, which has been criticised for its lukewarm response to the call for taking steps to reduce global warming which had already started to cause climate changes that could have catastrophic consequences for the earth.

Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment J M Mauskar told UNI that India decided to go the conference as it believed in dialogue and widest possible exchange of views on as climate change.

''We will again put forth our position that India cannot accept any mandatory cuts in its carbon emmissions that are directly related to its energy use as it would affect the country's development,'' he said.

It is to be noted that the US has refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol on reduction of Greenhouse gases on the ground that major emmitters like India and China had been exempted from doing so.

The developing countries argue that historically it is the developed countries that have been responsible for emission of greenhouse gases, so it is they who should accept the mandate first and allow the developing countries some more time to reach a certain level of development.

India is going to Washinton in the backdrop of increasing international pressure on it and also on China to agree to some kind of emission cuts. The European Union feels that that it is the only way to convince the US and Australia to agree to commitments in the next stage of the Kyoto Protocol which is to come into effect after 2012, when the current protocol expires.

At the last G8 meeting, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had made it clear that despite its economic development, India would not exceed the per capita emissions beyond what the developed countries had already reached.

Mr Mauskar said the conference called by the Bush Administration was indicative of the increasing realisation by world leaders of the impending climate change due to increase in greenhouse gases caused by human activities.

He said the Washington meeting had no fixed agenda, as being held for the first time, it was just providing a forum for exchange of ideas.

Mr Mauskar said experts and policymakers in India thought that there was a direct relation between poverty alleviation and adaptation to climate change, so development could not be sacrificed.

Referring to the British economist Nicholas Stern Report on climate change, he said India had strong difference with his contention that it was spending only a miniscule amount on climate change adpatation.

He pointed out that in 2006-07, India spent 2.17 per cent of its GDP on projects that would help people adapt to climate change and reduce their vulnerability to it, while in 2000-01, the country spent just 0.63 per cent of its GDP on adaptation measures.

Stern, in his report on climate change for the UK, had held that measures to arrest climate change would not affect the growing economies of countries like India.

According to observers, at the Washington meeting, the US would try to make the major countries agree, by the end of 2008, upon a post-2012 framework that might include a long-term global goal and nationally defined midterm goals and strategies besides sector-based approaches for improving energy security and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

The meeting follows a series of reports by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) that warned of temperatures rising by several degrees Fahrenheit by 2100 and leading to rising seas, drought and other extreme weather events if the emmission of greenhouse gases was not cut., The UN-sponsored report said global average temperatures over the past 100 years rose by 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit.


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