Saturday, December 5, 2009
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
The Minister for Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh, has over the last two weeks been repeatedly introducing modifications and caveats to India’s fundamental negotiating position on climate change. These are per capita emissions as the basis of negotiations, differentiating between the Annex 1 and non Annex countries and the actions of the developing countries being predicated on the financial and technology transfers from the rich countries. On each of these points, the Minster is now deviating from India's position and even from position that the PM has taken on these issues.
At the end of the debate in the Lok Sabha, the Minister was dismissive of India’s stand on per capita emissions as the basis for equitable burden-sharing at Copenhagen. Calling India’s low per capita emissions an “accident of history’’, he added that India’s biggest failure was our inability to control population growth. These remarks go against India’s stated positions on both climate policy and population policy. It is well-known that the Minister has modified the Prime Minister’s stated position on climate policy that India’s per capita emissions would not exceed that of the developed countries by replacing the words “would not exceed’’ by the words “will stay below’’ making it open for rich countries to negotiate India well below rich countries per capita emission levels. When queried in Parliament as to why the modifications have been introduced, he has dismissed such queries claiming that the two phrases ``mean the same thing".
In an interview to the Times of India today, the Minister has stated that India would be willing to accept monitoring, reporting and verification of mitigation actions in India even if they are not supported financially and technologically by the developed countries. He has dismissed the earlier position as a negotiating tactic and not an operational strategy. He has specified that even unsupported actions would have IMF/WTO style reporting.
He has also declared in the same interview that the question of Intellectual Property Rights is not a major issue in the part of the climate negotiations that relates to technology transfer. He has further downplayed the entire issue of technology transfer itself, stating that the issue real issue is technology development and not technology transfer. This is unacceptable, considering that the official language of the UNFCCC and the negotiating documents at climate negotiations use the specific term technology transfer (together with technology development, application and diffusion).
On both these issues the Minister is going against the officially stated negotiating positions of the Government of India. This is clear from the documents regarding India’s position that are available on the Ministry’s website itself.
Ahead of the crucial negotiations at Copenhagen, here is a Minister who publicly and repeatedly keeps modifying accepted policy positions. The Minister has also made derisive remarks about the G77 leader, Sudan. He has also stated soon after joining with China, Brazil and South Africa that he is not sure about China and Brazil. He has argued that India should distance itself from G77 states. Before the Indian delegation leaves for Copenhagen, the UPA government should categorically clarify what India's negotiating position will be.