India and China Remain in Firm Opposition on Emission Targets on Eve of UN Climate Summit

NEW YORK, Sept. 22 (UPI) — As the U.N. summit on climate change was set to open today in New York — the largest gathering of world leaders on the issue — India and China were still standing firm against setting binding targets on emissions.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has characterized the summit as “the defining challenge of our time.” It leads up to the December climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, where countries are set to wrap up talks on a new emissions agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

India has said it is ready to play an “active” role in crafting a new global accord on combating climate change. While Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh admits a “nuanced shift” in his country’s position regarding domestic binding targets, he maintains that there has been no shift in India’s negotiating stand, the India Times reports today.

“The stand remains the same. We are not going to accept any legally binding commitments on carbon emissions,” he said.

At last week’s Major Economies Forum in Washington, Ramesh was informally asked why India still rejects internationally binding emission targets if it is planning binding domestic legislation, the India Times reports.

Ramesh expressed optimism prior to the opening of the summit on some areas of consensus, including finding ways for wealthy countries to obtain emissions credits by financing the protection of forests in poorer nations and the Clean Development Mechanism, which is a framework for promoting investments that reduce developing country emissions, The New York Times reports.

Ramesh said India is preparing legislation to set domestic targets for emissions from power plants, agriculture, buildings, transportation and heavy industry, the Times reports.

“India is going to aggressively take on voluntary mitigation outcomes and we are now going to go for domestic legislation which will enshrine some targets,” Ramesh said, Press Trust reported Tuesday.

The targets include a mandatory fuel efficiency cap effective in 2011, an energy efficient building code for 2012 and an increase in electricity from renewable sources to 20 percent by 2020.

As for China, it “takes the threat of climate change very seriously and fully recognizes the urgency to take actions,” said Su Wei, one of the country’s top negotiators on climate, The New York Times reports.

Wei called for developed countries to commit to greater emission reductions. Secondly, Wei said, developed countries need to provide the financing, technology transfer and capacity building to support developing countries to adequately address the challenge of climate change.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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