India gets ready with national plan on climate change

Published: Monday 30 June 2008

india's national action plan on climate change might see the light of day around June end. The news comes after some members of the prime minister's council on climate change reportedly critiqued another draft of the plan. Meant to chalk out India's response to climate change, the plan was to be released prior to the climate conference in Bali last December (see 'Modelled to function', Down To Earth, May 31, 2008).

The latest draft was discussed at the June 2 meeting of the council. The bone of contention was whether it should exclusively focus on the national effort or should also incorporate the international structure as spelt out in the un Framework Convention on Climate Change (unfccc).

The draft, however, focused primarily on the national agenda.As a result, the text referring to energy efficiency and mitigation options were inconsistent with India's international position, notably that at the Bali conference.

When contacted by Down To Earth about this contradiction, Shyam Saran, special envoy to the prime minister said "The plan, currently being finalized, will take into account the comments and recommendations made by the prime minister's advisory council on climate change. It is a plan for our own national efforts to deal with the challenge of climate change. It incorporates a strategy for sustainable development and will draw upon both national as well as global resources. While it will demonstrate India's determination to mobilize a nation-wide effort to deal with the climate change challenge, it is not a negotiating document in the context of the ongoing multilateral negotiations."

Saran added, "Of course, the document will incorporate guidelines for India's negotiating stance at these multilateral negotiations. These guidelines are precisely those based on the principles and objectives enshrined in the unfccc, in particular, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and relative capabilities. The question of altering India's well known positions in this regard does not arise."

Ministries involved in the preparation of the draft plan did not respond or were tight-lipped citing that the draft is under discussion.

The plan aims to launch eight natio-nal missions including those on solar energy, water and Himalayan ecosystems to tackle climate change. It will also set up mechanisms to ensure implementation of the missions. The final plan is expected to be out in time for the G-8 summit in Japan on July 7-9, 2008.

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