“Even with 8-9 per cent GDP growth every year for the next decade or two, our per capita emissions will be well below that of developed country averages. There is simply no case for the pressure that we, who have among the lowest emissions per capita, face to actually reduce emissions. As if this pressure was not enough, we also face the threat of carbon tariffs on our exports to countries such as yours,” Ramesh said in an obvious reference to Clinton while making his opening remarks at the ITC
Green Building event at Gurgaon.
While Ramesh’s reference to “pressure” is in line with India’s assertion post-MEF, observers feel his remarks could also be an outlet of his “pent up anger and disillusionment over India’s change in stance on emission reductions being non-negotiable”. Especially, since it was Ramesh who had, ahead of the MEF, sought to place India’s position on record when he had asserted that any legally binding reduction targets weren’t acceptable to it. It turned out quite the contrary though, and he since raised apprehensions about its adverse impact on India’s developmental plan of action, in which poverty eradication is the priority.
Ramesh also sought to send across a message to the US, which tops the list of global per capita greenhouse gas emitters. “We are just embarking on a close to US$3 billion programme (and US$3 billion to begin with) to regenerate our natural forests that already cover some 165 million acres – roughly the size of Texas. This is one of the largest carbon sinks in the world
and a sink that will only grow in size and impact,” he said.
“It is possible for us to have an international agreement that recognises common but differentiated responsibilities and which also involves credible actions by countries like India and China to mitigate the GHG emissions in future,” he maintained. On her part, Clinton said that the US does not and will not do anything that would limit India’s economic progress. Nevertheless, she pointed out that India is a country very vulnerable to climate change and its greenhouse gas pollution is projected to grow by about 50 per cent between now and 2030.
However, Clinton acknowledged that the US had made mistakes in its own industrial advance and defended the right of emerging countries to improve their living standards. She also backed Ramesh, saying India and the US can jointly devise a breakthrough plan for fighting climate change that will generate massive new investments and millions of jobs.