India oppose binding pact on emission cuts

New Delhi: India will not sign any legally binding global agreement for emissions reduction, as the country needs to eradicate poverty through economic growth, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said today. "There is no question of signing a legally binding agreement at this point of our development. We need to make sure that our development does not suffer," Natarajan said in Rajya Sabha.

She was responding to clarifications on her December 21 statement in the House after she returned from the United Nations Climate Change Conference at Durban early this month. Seeking clarification, Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley said if India was made legally bound to cut emissions, the country`s economic growth would suffer.

Natarajan said, "Our emissions are bound to grow as we have to ensure our social and economic development and fulfil the imperative of poverty eradication." On the Green Climate Fund, she said a decision was taken at the Conference to set up a USD 100 billion corpus which would start operations soon with an interim secretariat and a Board.

"The fund will help a large number of vulnerable countries in taking effective mitigation and adaptation actions. India played a facilitating role in Durban in ensuring that the Fund is established," she said. Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) questioned the significance of the Kyoto Protocol on the ground that the signatories account for only 15 per cent of the total global emissions. Admitting the shortcomings in the protocol, Natarajan said for the first time the US, which is yet to ratify it, was a participatory to the Conference.

The Durban conference, she said, has established a second commitment period for the developed countries which are party to the Kyoto Protocol. Targets, decided through a decision, would now be converted into actual emission limits at the next session in Qatar next year. "A time-frame of five years till 2017 has been given to the Kyoto Protocol parties for ratification of the targets and the emission limits," Natarajan added.