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A confidential letter from the Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh (above) to the Prime Minister suggests a U-turn in the nation’s climate policy.

India should give up its position as bugbear for the developed countries in the climate negotiations and decide a drastic change in the country's stand on climate. That was the proposal in a confidential letter recently sent from Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, according to Times of India.

The letter leaked to the press and raised hectic political debate with the Congress distancing itself from a shift of policy and Jairam Ramesh apparently backing down on his views.

In his letter, the Environment Minister suggested that India should accept to deviate from the Kyoto Protocol, regulating the international efforts to combat global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Kyoto Protocol states that only developed countries must accept binding greenhouse gas reductions. In his letter, Jairam Ramesh suggests that India takes on reduction commitments without any counter guarantee of finances and technology.

On top of that India should delink itself from G77, the 131-member bloc of developing nations supporting each other in the negotiations aiming at a new treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

The Environment Minister’s letter allegedly stated that it was in India’s own interest to reduce emissions and that the proposed course might lead to other political advantages such as a permanent membership of the Security Council.

In a later written statement, Jairam Ramesh stressed the importance of the Kyoto Protocol and the need for the developed countries to fulfill their emission reduction targets.

India has so far been a strong opponent of any binding emission targets for developing countries.

During the recent UN climate negotiations in Bangkok, India refused an Australian proposal backed by the US and the EU, suggesting a single legal instrument to reduce emissions worldwide.

The proposal would put all countries on one list, with the exception of the least developed, and all should take on commitments of same nature though of various degrees without any contingent guarantee of technology or finance in return.

The Indian Environment Minister now in his letter to the Prime Minister favors the Australian proposal, according to the press.


Issued by:  COP15.dk

Author: Marianne Bom


Issue date: October 20, 2009

Link to Article: Origin of text



October 21, 2009: Indian environment minister is put in his place

After internal disagreements, the Indian prime minister officially denounces his environment minister.

Only a day after the Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh (above) was reported to have pushed for New Delhi to accept emission curbs, he was put in place by the Prime Minister’s Office, The Economic Times reports.

Late on Monday evening, lead members of the Indian climate negotiating team addressed the Prime Minister’s Office conveying their inability to continue to be part of India’s official team, since they were not in line with their environment minister.

Later Monday evening, the Prime Minister’s Office sent out a clarification that described Mr. Ramesh’s suggestions as merely a proposal.

"In my view, the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) has clarified the position in a more timely and welcome manner. It is now clear that the document in question is only a note for discussion, not official policy. It is also been clarified that there will be no shift except on the basis of consensus and with the sanction of Parliament. This is most appropriate since our climate change policy has always been based on a national consensus," Chandrashekhar Dasgupta, a key negotiator, says, according to The Economic Times.

"It is anybody’s privilege to suggest radical or fundamental change, but people should avoid airing these views outside till it becomes official policy," a negotiator tells the newspaper on condition of anonymity.


Extpub | by Dr. Radut