December 22, 2009 / 8:52 AM / 10 years ago

India says to better cuts in gas emissions growth

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India could improve upon its aims to slow the growth of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, the environment minister said on Tuesday after returning from climate change talks in Copenhagen.

Residents of a slum sit on water pipes going over the contaminated Mithi River in Mumbai December 16, 2009. REUTERS/Arko Datta

India said it was willing to rein in its “carbon intensity” — the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted per unit of economic output — by between 20 and 25 percent by 2020, from 2005 levels.

“(It) is not only eminently feasible, but can also be improved upon to the benefit of our own people,” Jairam Ramesh, the environment minister, said in parliament.

India will prepare a roadmap for a low carbon growth strategy in another four months, he told a news conference later.

The climate change meeting ended last week with a non-legally binding political agreement at the last moment between the United States and the big developing countries — China, India, Brazil and South Africa.

Ramesh said the BASIC group of countries comprising Brazil, South Africa, India and China was successful in thwarting global pressure to agree to a legally-binding emissions cut.

“It was at this crucial meeting that the BASIC group was able to get agreement on its proposals .... To ensure that the Copenhagen Accord was not legally binding and there was no mention of a new legally binding instrument in the accord,” Ramesh said.

Talks on a binding treaty are to extend throughout next year before the next November/December climate change summit in Mexico.

But Ramesh said the BASIC countries along with other developing nations will stick to the negotiating framework as laid out in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Bali Action Plan and the Kyoto Protocol as negotiations continue until the next summit in Mexico.

“We are not rewriting UNFCCC, we are not rewriting Bali Action Plan or the Kyoto Protocol. Yes, we now have a fourth animal called the Copenhagen Accord. What this animal comes out to be is up to us,” Ramesh said.

“It (Copenhagen Accord) is not a legally binding document, it is not a document to replace the Kyoto Protocol and this is not a document to replace the framework convention,” he said.

Ramesh said India came out well at Copenhagen and successful in safeguarding national interest.

“For India, climate change is a developmental issue and my mandate was to protect India’s right to faster economic growth.”

Editing by Alistair Scrutton and Sugita Katyal

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