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India: Delhi to Host Climate Change Meeting

Business Line
July 15th, 2002

CHENNAI, July 14 -- India will host the Eighth Conference of Parties (COP-8) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at New Delhi between October 23 and November 1.

Addressing a meeting organised by the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI) and the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), the Union Environment Minister, Mr T.R. Baalu, said hosting the COP was a significant achievement for India.

He said the industry has a very important stake in global climate change matters since half of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are from it.

The Indian industry should also get involved with international negotiations as it provides an opportunity for foreign investments and partnerships, he said. "These partnerships may result in the foreign partners providing efficient technologies, besides partial or full finance," he added.

Since India's energy system is anchored in coal which has high GHG emissions, the aim will be to look at low carbon intensive fuel without compromising the country's security, he said.

According to Dr G.B. Pant, Director of Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), the area where focused studies need to be done relate to how global warming will affect weather conditions in the country. There has been a prominent rise in the average Indian temperatures in the last 50 to 100 years.

Mr Vijai Sharma, former Indian representative at the UNFCCC negotiations, said it is a matter of great pride for India to be able to host the COP-8. Since unlike the two earlier COPs, this conference does not have a negotiating agenda, it is likely to have more meaningful discussions, he said.

The critical aspect will be the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by the Russian Federation, which contributes 17.4 per cent of the global GHG emission, he said. To come into effect, the protocol needs to be ratified by 55 countries, who together add up to at least 55 per cent of the global GHG emission.

With the US, which accounted for 25 per cent of the global GHG emission walking out of the protocol, the need for the other developed countries joining in is critical. At present, countries that have ratified the protocol add up to 36 per cent of the GHG emission. With Russia putting in its 17.4 per cent the target could be reached, Mr Sharma said.

Among the significant issues that could come in for discussion at the COP-8 will be the fate of those substances that are a good replacement for ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons but have a greenhouse effect.

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