In the coming days the Indian negotiators are having a tough time juggling between various meetings and keeping abreast with the media chasing them. But the most important events coming up are:

  1. 22nd to 24th Sept: An International  technology transfer conference organised in Delhi for key negotiators to come to consensus about financial mechanisms and funds coming in from annex 1 countries and come to some sort of a bargaining on technology transfer.
  2. GEF meeting in New York: The Global Economies meeting in New York will be well attended by the Indian delegation who will be lead by Shyam Saran. R R Rashmi the Joint Secretary to the Environment and Forest Ministry will also be seen next to a representative from the External Affairs Ministry.

Kudos to my small little team in Shri Ram College of Commerce which will help me reach out to a greater audience and liase with journalists and vernacular media at a touch of a button!

We will be basing our outreach on the following , so you all will get to hear about us more!:

  1. Informing a network of NGOs whoch work related to combating climate change
  2. Pushing for the blog posts to be translated in local languages and read out in radio news programmes and in vernacular media .
  3. Engaging with youth networks through IYCN, YP and college unions across the country.
  4. Local media and national TV partners.

We hope this time the people who really need to know have access to the relevant information!

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Jai Ram Ramesh has briefly stated what the Indian Stance will revolve around for the Bangkok as well as the Copenhagen negotiations. The thrust will lie with the following three points:

  1. REDD : We want to be given benefits for conserving our forests and reforestation activities. We can successfully mitigate 11% of greenhouse gases with the help of the great carbon sinks we have across the country. Apart from that we plan to step up afforestationa nd reforestation activities. States doing well in this regard will be given added incentives.
  2. CDM: We would like the CDM to continue post 2012 since it has really done well in India. By statistics we have 31% of the CDM projects registered officially from India . Given the success we would like to expand it further in the coming years.
  3. TECH TRANSFER: We expect technology transfer and financial transfers from the annex 1 countries to aid us in shifting to a low carbon economy. Being a developing country we do not have the financial resources to put binding commitments on reduction of GHGs.

All said and done, we want to know what would happen if India and China do not take any binding commitments and the annex 1 do not commit either? What would happen if we are not able to meet the agreement in Copenhagen?
In that case, we will just have to start mitigating faster , we will protect those who are vulnerable and try and switch a low carbon economy as soon as possible. We will definitely have to push up out adaptation programmes and get ready for stronger effects of climate change yet to come.

Jai Ram Ramesh , the environmental minister is planning and structuring a new model for the working of the ministry and addressing environmental issues in the country. The revamped ministry will work on three tiers:

  1. National Environment Protection Agency

This is remodelled on the lines of the US protection agency. This is mainly looking into the clearances and grant functions by the ministry.

  1. Green Tribunal Network

This will look into all the legislative work and all cases pertaining to violations in the environmental laws. This will reduce the workload on the overworked judicial system  in India and helps to address local issues better.

  1. Ministry and International Negotiations

The ministry will preside over the functions of the above two structure heads and will take strong and work on building pressure and pushing for equity in the international negotiations.

Reflecting on the new model of working , one must compliment the ministry , but whats more important is to understand why we the common people in India don’t see any coorelation between these actions and other actions the government takes . See for instance the Budget which gave tax holiday to oil producing  companies . We hope to see more tax incentives for renewable energy companies and environmental management companies and a greater budgetary funds allocated towards the environmental ministry!

Jai Ram Ramesh

Jai Ram Ramesh

In the AWG LCA meeting the Indian Negotitator proposed to cut short the tedious 200 page long text. In accordance to their stanec with emphasis on the Bali Action Plan principles they said, there is need to build upon the areas of Convergence that are in line with the Convention and BAP has to be followed. The differences arising out of the proposals can be removed as they do not conform to the Convention and also to request the parties about the reason of difference. According to the representative from India, the discussions related to the ideas of governance in conformity with the BAP and Convention, the idea of equity and fulfilling responsibility of the developed countries for the historical emissions, and the democratic process of accessing the funds are the mainstream elements of building up a financial mechanism with a robust institutional structure for delivery for addressing the climate change problem. The general mood is that the things are moving very slowly and the fact that there are exchanges of issues between the developed and the developing countries on various issues are only the first steps towards evolving a position by the different groups.

India also pointed out that the developing countries have to scale-up the magnitude of the technology delivery as well so as to arrive at meeting the demands of the population of the developing countries. For example, the countries need to move to a path of de-carbonisation through deployment of biomass, solar and other clean energy sources that will meet the energy demand, currently being met by the fossil fuel sources. India also supported the need for developing the adaptation technologies as has been pointed out by Bangladesh.

But back home they argue that they would not scale up activities in India untill and unless they have funding from Annex 1 parties. Duality?

As the climate talks are revisited at Bonn, we are keeping our eyes and years open to catch all the activity at the conference despite not being able to make it physically there. From Birds- eye view we will be reporting to you any upcomings springing up on this brief intercessional in Bonn.

On contacting the delegation  these are the basic key thrusts for Bonn 3 in particular

1. India has called for recognizing forest conservation and forestation under the Reduced Deforestation in Developing Countries (REDD) Scheme, adequate and flexible financing of climate projects in the Third World and viable technology transfer without tags.

“We are going to insist on these three pillars of negotiations at Bonn,” the Union minister of state for environment and forests, Jairam Ramesh said. He added : “We are not defensive in our approach on emission problem nor are we obstructionist. We are assertive and hope the Bonn Conference would ultimately pave the way for an agreement at Copenhagen meet.” (more…)

India is finally taking advantage of the heat and scjorching sun by coming out with its long awaited solar mission, one of eight of the missions under the National action plan on climate change.

In its tribute to the sun gods it has promised to achieve a target of producing 20,000 MW of solar power by 2020.

“A draft National Solar Mission document proposing a target of 20,000 MW for solar power by 2020 has received in principle approval of Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change in its meeting held on August 3, 2009,” New and Renewable Energy Minister M r Farooq Abdullah said while replying to a query in Lok Sabha.

Mr Abdullah said that government was planning to add 15,000 MW capacity from renewable energy sources during the 11th Plan Period. By the end of 11th Plan, renewable power capacity is likely to cross 24,000 MW, which would be around 12 per cent of the th en installed power capacity in the country.

The Minister said that by the end of 13th Plan, renewable power capacity would be around 54,000 MW.

We applaud the government for finally having taken a stern step to shift to a low carbon pathway but would like to consider the following points of concern:

1. The document is not officially out and there will be an important meeting between three ministries : power, science and technology and Environment and forests in August to discuss the figures in the document.

2. There is no stakeholder consultation in the process and implementation plan has not been mentioned in the document.

3.Their is a possibility of the solar mission locking India into a corner in the international negotiations. India has asked for full costs of new technologies from the rich countries to limit climate-changing gas emissions at the negotiations. But the solar mission document suggests that India would be able to fund the entire project on its own. Government officials have pointed out that it would be hard to demand additional funds from the industrialised countries if India claims it can afford to sponsor such a large subsidy off its own resources.

4. Sunita Narain – Head of Centre for science and environment has the following to say: We cannot assume that the cost of solar energy will decrease so sharply as given (in the mission document).

We hope that the fun in the sun actually supplements our energy requirments in the process and that the document doesn’t merely remain restricted to paper.

sun1

As the Bonn climate talks have come to a close we would like to bid farewell to frequent long blog posts and continue to facilitate a knowledge dialogue with our negotiators and key officials who have a direct stake in the process to forming our Bonn of contention for 10-14th August when all climate leaders would be meeting again.

For India, since only a very limited population has its outreach in the internet world, we plan to get the word out through vernacular media into different and remote regions of India. Considering India has around 20 official languages and over 100 different dialects, we pay respect to our rich diversity by approaching outreach through radio and local language newspapers along with blogging.

On 12th of June, Mr Shyam Saran was extremely unhappy with the pace at which the negotiations were proceeding, as he said so in the press conference he held at the UNFCCC negotiations. Through the various meetings at Bonn and some post Bonn meetings with some high level officials involved associated with the delegations, the following main points came through:

  1. We are very positive to carrying forward the present Kyoto protocol and will work towards to an agreement by Copenhagen but do acknowledge that the present negotiations are proceeding at a very slow pace
  2. We will continue to working towards combating climate change through our National Action Plan on Climate Change and our accompanying 8 missions which will be open for public post July. But, we will only be willing to scale up our activities if Annex 1 countries are willing to transfer appropriate technology and finance for the same.
  3. Annex 1 countries should comply by their promises of commitments to reduce and should lead the way in putting binding targets, those of which should be in the IPCC range, preferably 40% by 1990 emission levels.
  4. Combating climate change should not be restricted to the reduction commitments only. It is a much larger prospective of shifting towards a low carbon pathway and we should keep this in mind specifically in the AWG LCA – long term action meetings and for the shared vision.
  5. Talks about getting climate change on the BRIC – Brazil, Russia , India and China agenda in particular energy security.

So, what is the real bone of contention, all the world leaders come together to discuss climate change very year? The underlying question is that of political power. When the west underwent industrialisation historically, it decided to commit to a path that polluted the whole world. But, this is what made them what they are today. Why would someone want to give up political power? Or not want to throw out the competition? Is that why the Annex 1 always wants the developing world to reduce its emissions? Are they scared that economies like India and China will develop at such a pace that they will overtake the west?

The emissions emitted during their industrialisation are far more than the emissions made by us today. So is this fair? Is this really about climate change? Is this about political power in the world? Is this why the deadlock still exists?

India at the plenary

India at the plenary

the press conference with Shyam Saran Sir

the press conference with Shyam Saran Sir