More on the Copenhagen Accord: US vs India (part 2: India's response)

  • 03/07/2010

India’s response: point by point and blunt

For once, India’s submission to the climate secretariat (AWG-LCA) was blunt and took on the US head on.

  1. It asserted the fact that the Copenhagen Accord was not ‘adopted’ but only ‘noted’ by parties as an input to negotiations on the text.

  2. Any outcome the erodes the differentiation amongst developed and developing countries as set forth in the UNFCCC and Bali Action Plan or creates new differentiation amongst developing countries is not acceptable.

  3. The goal of limiting 2 degrees Celsius must be preceded by a paradigm of equitable sharing of carbon space based on per capita accumulative emissions (note the assertion to historical emissions as against the US position of don’t mention the HE word).

  4. Developed countries must take mitigation action in form of economy wide quantified emission reduction targets, while developing countries have to take nationally appropriate mitigation actions supported and enabled in terms of finance and technology.

  5. Mitigation action by the developed countries must be based on their historical responsibility – and must be credible. This action should be subject to strict review and compliance procedure.

  6. On mitigation action of developing countries

    • Mitigation actions of developing countries will be voluntary and taken in the context of sustainable development;

    • This action can be enhanced if international technology and finance is available;

    • Emissions in developing countries are bound to rise for social and economic development and also because there is no transfer of technology or finance from developed countries to support efforts to reduce emissions. In this situation there can be no ‘peaking year’ for their emissions.

    • The Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA), which need international support will be recorded in a registry. Only these actions, supported by international technology or finance, will be subject to international measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) accordance with guidelines adopted by COP.

  7. MRV (as against the US submission)

    • Voluntary mitigation actions of developing countries financed from their own domestic resources will not be subject to international review (same as US).

    • Domestic mitigation actions will be subject to domestic MRV (same), but these actions may be reported to the international community through NATCOM prepared under Article 12 and consistent with Article 12.1 (b) (difference with US position, which wants the reports outside UNFCCC).

    • NAMAs will have provision for international consultation and analysis under clearly defined guidelines that ensure national sovereignty is respected. All guidelines for MRV will be subject to decision of the COP through its subsidiary body, SBI. (Has already moved closer to US position but with a rider that the guidelines will be made by COP and consultation will be under under UNFCCC, article 12.1 (b). This is now the point of contention between the two camps.)

  8. There will be no mandatory or voluntary sectoral norms at the international level for industrial technologies for reducing emissions.

  9. A multilateral mechanism should finance or facilitate collaborate research in future low carbon technology and access to IPRs as global public goods.


It is very clear that the differences between the two camps remain – one is pushing towards a universal regime, which takes the pressure of it to reduce emissions comparable with its contribution. The other, while wanting to protect its right to development, wants action taken by the historical contributors and is willing to take action voluntarily and do more if supported and enabled. Where will the world go?

In all this what is fascinating to see is the way the tables have been neatly turned: instead of focusing on the non-compliance and inadequate action of the big contributors, who have a commitment to take the first action, the focus is on the new players (in particular China and India), who are now joining the league. Clearly something is amiss

It is time we are told how the rich and already industrialized will cut emissions: and when. This is the question that the world is evading, to our common peril.

Related Content