U.S. President Barack Obama with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a round table meeting at the G8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy,
L’Aquila, Italy: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told the leaders of the major economies at their summit here that India was doing a great deal to combat climate change with an ambitious National Action Plan and will work with other countries for the successful conclusion of the negotiations at Copenhagen.
In his intervention at the Major Economies Forum (MEF) meeting on energy and climate change, he said the challenge was to change the pattern of economic development based on fossil fuels to one supported by clean and renewable sources of energy. The climate change talks needed to address this link.
Nothing could be farther from the truth than the notion that the developing countries were complacent or were not interested in addressing the consequences of climate change. The developing countries were the ones most impacted and are already facing the consequences of climate change and had a much greater interest in the issue, he said.
India had drawn up an ambitious National Action Plan and had set a goal of cutting emissions by 20 per cent in its 11th Plan. The country was committed to sustainable development but for upscaling it, the creation of an enabling international regime was necessary embedding both equity and international responsibility.
In the negotiations to meet the challenge at Copenhagen, India would do whatever it can. But it should be recognised that action on climate change could not be built upon the perpetuation of poverty. It wanted the agreement at Copenhagen to be “ambitious, comprehensive but, above all, equitable.”
On emission reductions, the Prime Minister said very ambitious targets were needed for 2050 but it was also important for the industrial nations to commit themselves to an interim target of cutting their emissions by 40 per cent by 2020. As for India, it was willing to diverge from business as usual and move to a climate friendly path of development. It can do more if new technologies and funding were made available.
At the suggestion of the United States President Barrack Obama who was chairing the MEF summit, Dr. Singh spoke on the challenges of the developing countries in adapting themselves to the consequences of climate change. He said adaptation was as much a challenge as mitigation of emissions. Pointing out that even if emissions were reduced as envisaged, climate change would continue and the developing countries were already facing the adverse consequences.
Climate change was already a reality for India that was spending 2 to 2.5 per cent of its GDP annually on meeting the consequences of extreme climatic conditions and calamities. For the developing countries, such uncompensated burden will only increase over time. He felt unless adaptation was also addressed, there would not be a successful outcome at Copenhagen.