India will not accept legally binding emission cuts: Saran

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New Delhi, Dec. 3 (ANI): India will follow the policy of voluntary emission cuts and will not accept any legally binding emission cuts, the Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Climate Change, Shyam Saran said here on Wednesday just days before the Copenhagen summit.

The international community has been building pressure on India after US President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced commitments to reduce emissions.

Saran said that India being a developing economy was not bound by any "legally binding emission cuts".

"Legally binding emission reduction targets are only the obligation of the developed countries. With regard to developing countries, they are expected to take mitigation action but these mitigation actions must be supported by financial resources as well as technology and these can be of course subject to verification," Saran told reporters on the sidelines of a function in New Delhi.

"As far as our own voluntary action are concerned, those voluntary actions which will have a very major impact in terms of not only our nationally meeting the challenge of climate change but also will be a contribution to the global effort, what we are prepared to do is reflect them, say in the form of our national communications to the UN framework and convention on climate change and this stand of India has been very widely appreciated," he added.

India thinks it may be possible to cut its carbon intensity by 24 percent by 2020 compared with 2005 levels, according to provisional government estimates obtained by Reuters Wednesday.

Carbon intensity is the amount of carbon dioxide emitted for each unit of gross domestic product.

By 2030, India estimates it could achieve a reduction in its carbon intensity by 37 percent from 2005 levels. The figures were arrived at after an analysis by various government departments.

A senior government official who declined to be named said India's final targets, likely to be presented at next week's global climate change talks in Copenhagen, could reflect a broad range rather than a specific figure.

India's carbon intensity cut figures are based on a projection that the country would achieve 20 percent energy efficiency by 2020 from 2007 levels.

India ranks as the world's fourth highest carbon emitter, with 1.8 tonnes of emissions per thousand dollars of GDP compared to China's emission of 2.85 tonnes.

India is under pressure to announce details of how it will control its growing carbon emissions, and issuing targets will likely strengthen New Delhi's hands at the Copenhagen negotiations.

China and the United States, the top and second largest emitters in the world, have unveiled plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions, leaving India the only major polluter still to issue any targets.

China's position comes after the United States said it would commit to cut its greenhouse gas emissions roughly 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, a drop of about 3 percent below the 1990 benchmark year used in U.N. treaties. (ANI)

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