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India firm on climate change stand
Published on 8 Dec. 2009 1:22 AM IST
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There is no dilution in India’s stance on climate change and the 25 percent reduction in emission intensity that New Delhi announced ahead of the Copehnagen summit was purely voluntary, the Rajya Sabha was informed Monday. This, however, did not satisfy the opposition which walked out of the house alleging a sell out. “There is no compromise on India’s national interests. The 25-percent reduction in emission intensity that we have announced is unilateral and non-binding internationally. It will only strengthen our position to demand more reductions from the West,” Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said in the house during the zero hour. This did not satisfy Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley, who had raised the issue in the house. “I am completely dissatisfied with the answer and I am walking out,” he said. Jaitley then led the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members out of the house and they were followed by the bulk of the opposition MPs, including those from the Left, the Samajwadi Party and the AIADMK. Ramesh also reminded that house that a mid-year review of the economy by the Planning Commission had found that 25 percent reduction in emission intensity would not impact Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. The minister also discounted suggestions that India had agreed to blanket international scrutiny of its efforts to reduced emission intensity levels. “Only those reductions that are effected with international aid and technology will be subject to scrutiny. The rest will not,” he maintained. “We will also be presenting, every two or three years, a report to the UN Framework Conference on Climate Change in which we will be detailing all that we are doing for emission (intensity) reductions,” he said. He also denied suggestions that two of India’s 10 negotiators had disagreed with the stand the government proposed to take at the climate change summit starting Monday and had refused to travel to the Danish capital. “Two of then had some questions. I have met them and they have now agreed to go,” Ramesh said. The issue also figured during question hour, with the minister lamenting that the developed world was not doing enough in providing aid and technology to enable the developing world bring down its emission levels. “I hope this will form the crux of the discussions at Copenhagen,” Ramesh said. He also said India, China and Brazil had a basic framework in place for negotiating cuts in greenhouse gas emissions during the Copenhagen summit. “India, China and Brazil have a basic draft. I have a copy of the basic draft... to form the negotiation,” Ramesh said. Stating that he was leaving for Copenhagen Thursday, the minister added: “Before that I will come back (to parliament) and answer all your questions.” The Dec 7-18 climate summit will see the participation of US President Barack Obama, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and over 80 world leaders, with the likelihood of a consensus on a new deal on global warming. ‘Climate change will hit 175m kids every year’ NEW DELHI, DEC 7 (AGENCIES): A new report suggests that 175 million children will be affected every year by frequent natural disasters caused due to climate change. Painting a grim future, a report by child rights NGO Save the Children said climate change was the biggest global health threat to children that could increase risk of deaths due to diarrhoea, malnutrition, malaria and other diseases because of reduced community access to clean water, nutritious food and hygienic surroundings. The report — ‘Feeling the Heat: Child Survival in a Changing Climate’ — links access to basic facilities with climate change. It said that 2 million children under 5 years of age die each year in India. Pointing out that this was the highest number anywhere in the world, the report said children were dying from a small number of preventable diseases, such as diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia, reported Times News Network. “Climate change will make these conditions worse, placing children at greater risk, because it will reduce poor communities’ access to clean water, reduce their ability to grow nutritious food, increase food prices and allow malaria mosquitoes to spread,” the report said. The average number of natural disasters has increased from 200 a year to more than 400, and this is predicted to increase by as much as 320% in the next 20 years. The report said climate change disasters would also continue to increase malnutrition and certain diseases that often kill children. It estimated that malnutrition, which affects 178 million worldwide and is associated with up to 3.2 million child deaths each year, would affect 25 million more children by 2050. Already, one-third of all malnourished children live in India. Calling for world leaders to sign a deal at Copenhagen, Save the Children CEO Thomas Chandy said, “Climate change has put India at risk of not meeting the millennium development goals, and even taking several steps backwards from what has been accomplished to date. Children, who are not responsible for climate change, will be the ones who are hardest hit.” The report added that India lagged behind in its commitment to reducing under 5 mortality by 2015. Given present trends, India will not meet MDG 4 until 2020, five years after the promised date. “We fear that any progress India makes in reducing child mortality will be further slowed down by the effects of climate change,” Chandy said.

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