The UN‘s top official on climate change has said that in the coming six months, the G8 nations face the challenge of how to involve China, India and other major developing countries in the United Nations effort to contain global warming.
Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Yvo de Boer, identified the agreement reached at the G8 in Heiligendamm as a “breakthrough”. He said that it had “re-energised” climate talks that have been postponed since America refused to ratify the Kyoto Treaty in 2001.
The G8 and the “plus five” emerging economies of China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico held that a fresh post-2012 climate change treaty was required and that it should incorporate a significant reduction in greenhouse gases. However, it determined no particular target for the reduction to be achieved.
It will now be critical to have everything in place so that the negotiation process can be set in motion at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali in December of this year.
said Mr Boer.
Mr De Boer pointed that two key elements would be needed to bring the developing nations to consent to cuts in their emissions. The first of these would be adaptation. The G8 leaders also admitted the requirement of considerable funds to enable the most vulnerable to adapt to the inavertible effects of climate change.
The other key element would be the expansion of carbon trading through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) that enables industrialized countries to invest in clean energy or pollution control projects in developing countries, and generate tradeable emission credits thereby.
Both China and India, however, discouraged the climate changed deal reached at the G8 meeting in Germany, refusing attempts by America to make targets dependent on their willingness to follow suit.
China gave a measured, neutral response to the deal in Germany. India reiterated that it still held the opinion that it was up to the developed world to take the initiative.
In theory, both the countries should have been pleased that there was no attempt to set specific targets for their own greenhouse gas emissions, which both have refused to consider. But in announcing the deal, G8 leaders implied that when negotiations on specific details began, they would have to involve developing countries including China and India.
However, state media in China, in an ominous response, emphasized on the increasing closeness of the two rising economic powers of Asia on the issue.
President Hu accepted that developing nations had a part to play in climate change, but added:
Considering both historical responsibility and current capability, developed countries should take the lead in reducing carbon emission and help developing countries ease and adapt to climate change.
China’s action plan on climate change refuses to consider the idea of internationally set caps on Chinese emissions. It has set its own short-term target of reducing energy intensity, i.e. the use of energy per unit of gross domestic product, by 20 per cent between 2005-2010. But as its economy is growing by more than ten per cent a year, that still represents a big increase in total emissions, even if the target is met.
India’s environment minister, Pradipto Ghosh, made clear before the summit that India would not accept CO2 limits that would retard economic growth and damage India’s attempts to eradicate poverty.
India and China are also necessitating that the West must render them with its latest, “green” technology if it wishes them to bring down the environmental impact of their huge but indispensable growth.
Image Credit: Greenpeace