Info Service on Climate Change (Nov15/09)
20 November 2015
Third World Network
The developed world should practice what it preaches:
with Minister of environment, forest & climate change
Editor, Business Standard
Environment, Forest & Climate Change Minister Prakash Javadekar
speaks to Nitin Sethi on the Paris climate change agreement.
How essential is it for India to get a road-map for delivery of
climate finance from developed world in the core Paris agreement?
The road-map for finance is for ensuring predictable, scalable and
new finance. The Overseas Development Assistance finance or the existing
OECD finance you just cannot double account that to call it climate
finance. This (our demand) is not for India. It is for the entire
developing world. It is an issue of strengthening the hands of developing
world to take more action. After all, we as a world must act in a
more effective way to combat the challenge posed by climate change.
We are fighting for a cause. We are not asking money for India. We
are 17% of the world's population, are we saying give us 17% of the
funds? No we are not. Actually, we are fighting for all developing
India has asked for a window in the Green Climate Fund to finance
transfer of clean technologies to developing countries. That can only
happen if the Paris meet takes such a decision. Is it essential for
India to secure this at Paris?
When we began discussing this technology issue I was very firm and
clear that technology can change the climate for the better so if
we want to have clean energy it can be achieved through high-end technology.
The cost of these technologies should not be prohibitive for the developing
world. Louis Pasteur, Archimedes, Galileo and many other scientists
invented and made scientific advancement for human development. It
need not necessarily be that technology evolves only from market signals.
There are innovations happening but we should not profit from disaster.
We should be making these technologies available to developing countries.
Technology cooperation and availing technology at affordable cost
is the issue. I am very happy that at least verbally many countries
have recognised this and sympathised with the idea. Now we have to
see how the world decides.
We say we require Intellectual Property Resources as an important
aspect of innovation. Therefore all those companies who have done
research should be compensated. A part of that can be compensated
by Green Climate Fund.
But, both the US and the EU do not want the issue of IPR reflected
in the Paris agreementů
But, how can it work unless we provide finance to the developing world
and make technology cheaper? Let us understand it's a competitive
world. The solar energy technologies which were pioneered by companies
in the West - today China has taken over the market because they are
providing the same quality and durability at much cheaper rates. This
happens. For their own markets, the developed world will have to bring
down the prices. Technologies have to be made affordable.
The developed world is asking for disinvestment in coal. Recently
OECD has made a decision along those lines. Will India agree to something
of this nature in the Paris agreement?
Any un-natural restriction on natural growth of developing world is
unacceptable. If someone is putting restrictions on India or any developing
country it is unacceptable. You (the developed world) have used coal
for centuries, you have polluted the world and suddenly you wake up
and tell us - you don't use coal. Even today our per capita coal consumption
is 1/5th of US and in absolute terms its much less than US even today.
I have that right to at least go up to that level. You cannot have
un-natural restrictions on this. We are already adopting clean coal
technologies, we are also adopting to new energy mechanisms whereby
our energy sources would be cleaner than before. Importantly, we are
on our development trajectory and will expand our energy sector, still
we will be expanding our non-fossil fuel share to 40%. It's huge.
Now if you see Germany is shifting from nuclear to coal. How can you
(the developed world) practice one thing and preach something else.
What will be the Indian position on an ex-ante review of the pledges
made under Paris agreement?
This is absolutely ridiculous. We have just started walking and a
mid-term review of 2020-2030 (pledges) can happen logically in 2024-25.
How can it happen in 2018? I have a proposal. In 2018 you can have
a mid-term review of the ambitious targets that the developed world
declares in Paris for the next five years 2016-2020. That should be
reviewed in 2018. Pre-2020 action is very important. We cannot have
a five year action holiday. So the developed world must declare more
ambitious pre-2020 targets which they are not declaring. They should
declare it in Paris and in 2018 we can review their pre-2020 actions.
Our review can happen only in 2024 or 2025 - that would be the right
On the issue and principle of differentiation, we have heard of
the principle often but, what does it mean when some talk about operationalizing
it in each element of the Paris agreement?
What do we have to achieve in Paris? We have to achieve enhanced and
additional action UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The convention
is alive. It is enhanced action under the convention that would be
decided at Paris. The convention provides differential across all
pillars, such as mitigation adaptation or review. In review there
is a difference between developing world and developed world. For
the developed world there is international review and assessment.
For the developing world actions it is analysis and consultations.
That is the correct way. We can think of unified systems sometimes
at a later day but that day is not today because we have just started
the review system in last four years. Now countries have begun presenting
their first biennial updates under this system. We shall also be presenting
ours during Paris.
On the Long term Goal. We have agreed to the goal of keeping temperature
rise under 2 degree Celsius but other countries are talking of phrases
like de-carbonisation etc. What are Indian concerns with such phrases?
Decarbonisation or carbon-neutral are new concepts. Bringing on new
items on the agenda in Paris will ensure basically that Paris fails.
We have always said this time a major shift is happening from the
Kyoto Protocol. That was about action only from developed world. For
Paris all countries, including developing countries, have presented
their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions which are robust.
The global assessment by international civil society has clearly said
that very clearly said developing world, particularly India, has taken
on effort equal to 400% of their capacity and fair share of burden
- our INDCs are so robust and ambitious. In contrast, the developed
world INDCs are less than their fair share and capacity to act. That
is the reality. We should not complicate it further. Let us keep Paris
simple and make progress. I believe in human intent and intelligence.
Technology will not stand as it is today. It will always evolve and
come up with new solutions. Nobody knew when Kyoto Protocol was being
signed that shale gas would become a reality so soon. Who knows there
might be a hydrogen-fueled car waiting outside the Paris venue. One
never knows. We have to be positive and simple and welcome everyone
as they are working responsibly - that should be the basis for Paris.
Prime Minister Modi's solar alliance has found some traction. What
are the other possibilities and similar proposals that he may put
on the table at Paris?
The PM will definitely make an important speech on November 30 in
Paris and he will reveal what he wants to. He is passionate and committed.
At the same time his whole priority is to put the country and the
nation first. We want to mitigate the challenge presented by climate
change but there has to be a global effort, India cannot act in isolation.
The World needs to act more responsibly and reasonably. India is leading
by example and this time in discourse of climate change we have put
up the solar alliance, climate justice and lifestyle issues and other
ideas on climate finance and technologies. It's not that India is
every time merely reacting. Now India is putting new proposals and
the world is reacting. That is how it should be.
At the WTO negotiations when issues came to head, India stood alone
to defend its development rights. If the need arises would India be
willing to do the same at Paris to prevent restrictions on its developmental
I think this is a hypothetical question. We are very sure that Paris
will be successful and produce an equitable and just climate deal
and we will ensure that what India is asking is achieved.