We can't shut door on talks'India
The Times of India
In a dramatic move that will alter India's climate change policy irrevocably, Jairam Ramesh, speaking at the ministerial summit at Cancun, said India was willing to commit to legally binding commitments as part of an international climate deal. The environment minister spoke to TOI's Nitin Sethi on the sidelines.
Why this shift?
You must understand certain realities within Basic. Both South Africa and Brazil have spoken about legally binding agreements. Aosis, forty-three countries have tabled a draft decision on starting a legally binding agreement. Four countries within our own region — Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Maldives – are also for a legally binding agreement. The overwhelming majority of Africa is for a legally binding agreement. We must take note of what is happening. The door must not be closed on us.
One of your cabinet briefs is not to stand alone.
Not to stand alone and not take a legally binding agreement at this stage.
How do you define 'at this stage'?
Not at Cancun.
So you can accept it at Durban (2011)?
It's not about a date. We can discuss it over at Durban over issues I described to you... provided we see progress on three conditions.
China, US, Philippines, Bolivia have opposed a legally binding agreement.
US has said a binding agreement. US has talked of binding agreement in the past. Brazil and China, I can tell you clearly, in a Basic meeting expressed support for a legally binding agreement. South Africa has consistently talked of of a legally binding agreement. So have the Chinese and and they are willing to live with it. This is the reality.
This is, you would admit, a dramatic shift from past.
You explain to me what the shift is. It's the first time that I did use the word binding commitments...in appropriate legal form. We don't know what the form is.
Isn't it reaching your red line and your commitment to Parliament?
Absolutely not, not at all. See, we are not being a part of a legally binding agreement at this stage. I am opening the door to talking about this, I cannot be seen to be closed to it. I will never take on a legally binding agreement at this stage... I am continuing to say to everybody that we oppose a legally binding agreement and I say it on the record.
You are saying binding commitments under an international legal form...
But I don't know what the form is. Even a decision by the Conference of Parties can be legally binding. It could be a binding commitment, say one year from now. Who knows!
But it's the first time you are using the words 'binding commitments'
Agreed. But it's not a breach. One of the red lines is that we will not take on absolute emission cuts. Red line number two is, we shall not sign an agreement which does not have extension of Kyoto Protocol. Third is no international legally binding agreement at this stage.
Why was this phrase 'at this stage introduced'?
I don't know.
You have introduced a new phrase.
The cabinet has said 'at this stage'. Am I exaggerating? Have I violated the cabinet? The government has accepted that the window is open now to take legally binding commitments in future. So you should not blame it on me. The cabinet has cleared it. It's in the minutes.
But isn't it still a breach of your commitment to Parliament?
Don't ask me all this. I go by the cabinet. That is your editorializing.
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