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India asks rich nations to ‘walk the talk’ on climate change issues

NEW DELHI: India on Friday said it was time for developed nations to “walk the talk” in addressing climate change with four BASIC nations jointly asking rich countries to take lead in dealing with the pollution induced global warming in accordance with their “historical responsibilities.”

“What we found out is that even on the mitigation front, actions of developing countries like South Africa, Brazil, China and India, are more concrete than the developed world”, said Indian environment minister Prakash Javadekar.

“It’s a high time that the developed world should walk the talk”, he said after the ministerial meeting of the BASIC nations —Brazil, South Africa, India and China.

READ ALSO: BASIC nations joint statement

In what may be a bold step to showcase their actions at international forum, Javadekar said, “I will suggest that we will make a compendium of what we have done and put up before the forthcoming UN Climate Summit meeting in September.”

The summit on climate change will be hosted by UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon in New York on September 23 for generating “political momentum on climate action” ahead of the December climate deal negotiation talks in Lima, Peru.

Highlighting how seriously the developing countries are working on cutting emissions of greenhouse gases, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission of China, Xie Zhenhua said, “Around 60% of the cut in emission is contributed by the developing countries.”

Asked whether separate discussions on bilateral levels like Indo-US and US-China talks would dilute the principles of multilateral dialogue on climate change, Zhenhua said discussions between US and China at the bilateral level was shared with the BASIC countries.

He dismissed such apprehensions that bilateral meetings were diluting principles of multilateral convention. Indian minister Javadekar held the similar view.

The four nations also issued a joint statement after the conclusion of the two-day meet on Friday, reaffirming their position that the future global climate deal must fulfill the principles of equity and ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ (CBDR) under UN convention.

Idea of reaffirming this well understood point at all successive ministerial meetings of this block is to ensure that the differentiation between developed and developing countries finds its place by all means in the 2015 global climate deal in Paris.

Sending strong message to rich nations, the four countries also made pitch for early and substantial capitalization of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and need for all parties to communicate their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) as early as possible.

Referring to the GCF, the joint statement said, “The ministers proposed that a part of the funds to be made available under the Green Climate Fund could be utilized to secure intellectual property rights (IPRs) of relevant climate friendly technologies for deployment in developing countries”.

The ministers urged developed countries to implement their commitments under the UN Convention towards developing countries for provision of finance, technology and capacity building support.

The joint statement also reiterated that the Kyoto Protocol remains the essential and legally binding basis for addressing pre-2020 mitigation ambition and called for the expeditious ratification of the second commitment period of the protocol.

South Africa was represented by its environmental affairs minister Edna Molewa while Brazilian delegation was led by the country’s deputy environment minister Francisco Gaetani. The next round of the BASIC ministerial meeting will take place in South Africa in October.

( Originally published on Aug 08, 2014 )

UN climate summit in November last chance, warns UK’s Indian-origin climate chief

Alok Sharma, the UK minister in charge of the COP26 climate summit talks in Glasgow in November, on Sunday warned that the meeting hosted by Britain later this year is the world’s last chance to get a grip on climate change.

The Indian-origin Cabinet minister, who is the President-designate of the United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP26 in Glasgow in November, said in an interview that the world would face a climate catastrophe unless urgent action is agreed this year.

He also defended his recent hectic travel agenda, which came under some media criticism for his ministerial exemption from COVID-19 self-isolation rules on return from red list countries.

“You’re seeing on a daily basis what is happening across the world. Last year was the hottest on record, the last decade the hottest decade on record,” he told the ‘Observer’ newspaper.

“I don’t think we’re out of time but I think we’re getting dangerously close to when we might be out of time,” he said.

On his own travel, the minister said he was simply throwing everything at achieving a global consensus ahead of the talks in Glasgow.

“I have every week a large number of virtual meetings, but I can tell you that having in-person meetings with inpidual ministers is incredibly vital and actually impactful. It makes a vital difference, to build those personal relationships which are going to be incredibly important as we look to build consensus,” said the minister, who has travelled to countries such as Bangladesh and Bolivia in recent weeks.

His interview comes ahead of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s leading authority on climate science, out on Monday showing the true impact of extreme weather.

“This [IPCC report] is going to be the starkest warning yet that human behaviour is alarmingly accelerating global warming and this is why COP26 has to be the moment we get this right. We can’t afford to wait two years, five years, 10 years – this is the moment,” Sharma warned.

“This is going to be a wake-up call for anyone who hasn’t yet understood why this next decade has to be absolutely decisive in terms of climate action. We will also get a pretty clear understanding that human activity is driving climate change at alarming rates… Every fraction of a degree rise [in temperature] makes a difference and that’s why countries have to act now,” he told the newspaper.

The November summit in Scotland is widely seen as vital if climate change is to be brought under control, and leaders from 196 countries will meet to try and agree on action. Meanwhile, the UK also faces challenges over its own fossil fuel projects, with campaigners questioning new oil drilling being planned.

“Future [fossil fuel] licences are going to have to adhere to the fact we have committed to go to net zero by 2050 in legislation. There will be a climate check on any licences,” Sharma added.