Tuesday, September 30, 2014

China and India Put Economy Before Climate Change

Indian leaders did not attend the climate meetings at the UN in New York last week, but they did push back on President Obama’s plea for “every country” to help cut carbon pollution. Late last week, India’s environment minister told the media his nation’s top priority is boosting the economy and relieving poverty, not climate change.  Prakash Javadekar said India won’t offer a CO2-reduction plan before next year’s climate talks in Paris, and that any actions the country takes would just lower the rate of increase in carbon emissions for at least the next 30 years.
Javadejar said 20% of the Indian population doesn’t have access to electricity, and that’s their top priority. He added: “We will grow faster, and our emissions will rise.” Javadekar also pushed the need for action back on developed countries. He said the US and others have had more than a century to burn fossil fuels and that the “moral principle of historic responsibility cannot be washed away.”
The docket maintained by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) now contains a white paper produced by the delegation from China that raises some interesting points about Chinese positions on carbon regulation.
Seeming to reject the Obama Administration’s leadership on climate, the paper explicitly makes China’s commitment “dependent on the adequate finance and technology support provided by developed country parties” and insists that cash payments from the West come from “new, additional, adequate, predictable and sustained public funds". It regards the current commitment of $100 billion from Western nations as only a “starting point” and calls for elimination of intellectual property claims regarding green technologies developed in the US and elsewhere.  (Frank Maisano)

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