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Energy meet won't dilute climate pact: Ahluwalia

Mint, New Delhi, 13th April, 2013

New Delhi: The Clean Energy Ministerial being held in Delhi next week won’t lead to the dilution of international climate change negotiations, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said on Friday.

He was responding to a question on whether the 23-member global forum will create a parallel track to the globally binding climate change negotiations at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Kyoto Protocol, which lays down obligations of different countries with regard to carbon emission reductions, was agreed under UNFCCC in 1997 and extended until 2020 at the Copenhagen climate summit of 2012.

UNFCCC provides for agreed emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol as well as the clean development mechanism, according to which countries negotiate the level of technology transfer as well as financial assistance for developing and less developed countries to adopt cleaner and low emission technologies.

“There are two key issues before UNFCCC. First is binding emissions reduction obligations. The Clean Energy Ministerial will not discuss those at all. Another key issue is in order to take on the obligations how much money is on the table. The ministerial doesn’t discuss that either,” said Ahluwalia.

“I don’t believe the probability of getting a good outcome in UNFCCC is (improved) by refusing to have other discussions,” he added.  B.K. Chaturvedi, member in charge of energy at the Plan panel, gave an assurance that the ministerial was distinct from the ongoing emission reduction discussions.

“There are countries coming out with different technological innovations. We need a forum to discuss these and share experiences on developing renewable energy options,” said Chaturvedi. “There is no such knowledge-sharing forum today, globally.”

Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of activist group Centre for Science and Environment, said the ministerial, which was announced in 2009 by US secretary of energy Steven Chu, hasn’t gone very far in taking decisions on climate change matters.

“Though the idea of the US has always been that instead of 190 countries deciding on climate change matters, 20 big countries should decide, I think this idea hasn’t gone very far,” he said, adding that the 20 big countries haven’t signed anything in the last four years. “Don’t think this can replace UNFCCC,” he said.

“I know UNFCCC process is deeply stuck...but countries have a lot of commercial and other interests. The important thing is the interaction here does in no way constrain our position in the UNFCCC,” said Ahluwalia. The ministerial will be held on 16-18 April.