NEW DELHI, Sept. 24 (UPI) — Gaps between developed and developing nations could widen farther in the absence of a global agreement on equity and burden-sharing on carbon emissions, Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari warned.
Without such an agreement, climate change negotiations would likely spill over to other multilateral, regional and bilateral negotiation platforms and would “further accentuate existing divisions,” Ansari said, The Hindu reports.
Ansari opened a two-day conference in New Delhi Thursday on sustainable development and climate change, just after world leaders gathered in New York this week for the United Nations summit on climate change.
India now ranks fifth worldwide in the production of greenhouse gas emissions.
In comparing India’s emissions with other large polluters, Ansari stressed that developing nations such as India should not be held responsible for climate change.
Ansari said that India, with its rapidly growing economy and 17 percent of the world’s population, accounts for just 4 percent of carbon emissions, compared to the United States and China, which account for more than 16 percent each.
On a per-capita basis, India’s annual greenhouse gas emissions of 1.1 tons is “minuscule” compared to the 20 tons emitted by the United States, Ansari said.
The vice president pointed out that India’s primary energy consumption growth rate is 3.7 percent a year despite a GDP growth rate of about 9 percent.
“This contrasts with the pattern seen in developed countries and even a few major developing countries where higher GDP growth has followed the traditional pattern of increased use of energy,” he said.
During a roundtable session at the U.N. climate change talks Tuesday, India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said the outcome of climate change talks in Copenhagen in December must ensure that developing nations can pursue “accelerated development” and have the resources “to cope and adapt to climate change,” the Press Trust of India reported.
India has “repeatedly reaffirmed that our per-capita emissions would never exceed the average per capita emissions of the developed countries, even as we pursue our development objectives,” Krishna said.
He noted that India is engaged in a number of domestic adaptation and mitigation actions on a voluntary basis, including solar energy, extensive deployment of renewable, use of clean coal technologies, boosting energy efficiency and promotion of green agriculture.
India’s domestic actions, Krishna said, should not be “crimped by an international review obligation”.
“The way forward must ensure that developing countries can pursue growth and poverty eradication,” he said, while pledging that India would pursue unilateral voluntary measures for the year 2020 at national level.
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