Indian officials dismiss Danish climate proposal

  • Date: 30/11/09

Associated Press: NEW DELHI — Top Indian officials dismissed a draft climate change proposal by Denmark that expects developing economies to peak their greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, news reports said Monday.

The draft document was circulated to a few countries ahead of the Dec. 7-18 summit in Copenhagen, which is supposed to draw up an agreement for controlling emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases causing global warming.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said the Danish draft was “totally unacceptable,” The Economic Times reported.

“We are never going to take on a peaking year for absolute emissions. This is not on the horizon,” Ramesh told the Danes, according to the newspaper.

Ramesh declined to comment later Monday.

In Copenhagen, Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen said Denmark had not presented an official draft but was consulting “all the key stakeholders” ahead of the climate summit.

The Economic Times and the Times of India said the Danish document suggests 2025 as the year India reaches its maximum level of emissions before they begin to decline.

Scientists warn of potentially catastrophic climate change if average global temperatures rise more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) from preindustrial levels. To prevent that, greenhouse gas emissions should peak within the next few years and then rapidly decline by mid-century, according to the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

India has said it is prepared to take measures to slow the growth of emissions, but it refuses to accept the same kind of emissions cap required of industrial countries.

Last week China announced it would cut “carbon intensity,” a measure of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of production, by 40 percent to 45 percent by 2020, compared with levels in 2005.

The Chinese target means emissions will continue to grow as its economy expands, but at nearly half the rate they would have otherwise.

Ramesh said India was reviewing its position after the Chinese announcement but has so far failed to put forward any numbers.

Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren told The Associated Press he had indications that India would present a target shortly. “India is important but I also think that it’s important to finalize the discussions with the U.S. and China about their ambitions,” Carlgren said in Stockholm.

The Economic Times also said the Danish draft proposal suggests a separate schedule for developing countries, another move that India opposes.

“India is willing to sign on to an ambitious global target for emission reductions … provided developed countries shared the burden of funding mitigation,” it quoted the country’s top climate change negotiator Shyam Saran as saying.

“But signing on to emission reduction targets in the same manner as developed countries, that’s simply not possible,” he said.

The news reports said leaders of Brazil, South Africa, India and China are expected to present their own draft Tuesday in Copenhagen as an alternative to the Danish document.

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