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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

We can challenge India on Copenhagen goals: US TNN 22 December 2009, 01:24am IST

* China
* India
* US
* Copenhagen talks

NEW DELHI: Even though the final document in Copenhagen contained no legally binding commitments by anybody, US officials are claiming the right to unilaterally verify or review what India and other countries are doing.

Forced to defend the deal, White House senior advisor David Axelrod told CNN that the Copenhagen Accord would allow US verification. "Now China and India have set goals. We are going to be able to review what they are doing. We are going to be able to challenge them if they do not meet those goals," Axelrod said.

While this was probably intended to keep the enraged constituencies of US labour unions at bay, who had insisted that Barack Obama come back with a commitment from India and China for carbon cuts and their verification, these statements will only fuel a fire in countries like China and India. Besides, the government will be asked to come clean on whether the Copenhagen document was another nail in the Kyoto Protocol coffin.

The developed countries have tried all means to junk the protocol, and introduce a new framework where the developing countries take on some of the burden.

The US assertion is sure to figure in the debate in Rajya Sabha on Copenhagen text on Tuesday. Many political parties and NGOs have already come out against it, with the Left citing it as yet another instance of government succumbing to pressure from the US.

They are sure to cite Axelrod's remarks as vindication. "This was not the end of the road. The end of the road would have been the complete collapse of those talks. This is a great step forward," Axelrod said. Obama called it a meaningful beginning while British PM Gordon Brown lashed out at China and its friends.

The European nations, who were ultimately left out of the final deal-making, leaving Obama and the BASIC bloc (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) to strike the last bargain, are looking for more ways to get around the final text. In fact, over the next few months, the world will see a growing clamour to remove climate change negotiations from the UNFCCC and move it to a G20-like framework.

Sitaram Yechury of CPM, accusing the government of "shifting goalposts", said there was no clarity in the accord. "The accord is deeply ambiguous with several loopholes and the possibility of different interpretations, particularly with regard to emission cuts by developing countries, and fund and technology transfers," he said.

The government will be hard-pressed to defend signing on to the Copenhagen agreement, specially when there is no commitment from the developed countries on technology transfers. The battlelines were already drawn on Monday, with the Left parties leading the charge.

"Whether it is George Bush or Barack Obama, the narrow self-interests of America must prevail over the interests of the world community. The apprehensions of all poor nations that ultimately a deal will be imposed by the US has proved correct. It is a sorry spectacle of succumbing to US pressure," the CPI central secretariat said in a statement.

For Obama, it had a domestic political benefit. Since he stuck to the letter of the Waxman-Markey Bill in negotiating for a deal in Copenhagen, Obama had the added advantage of leveraging the climate deal to move his healthcare legislation forward.

QnA: Have the G77 countries been able to stall the West's attempts to kill the Koyoto Protocol?


Dear Blog Readers,
I thought of posting this interesting article from Times of India. I will follow up with the discussion soon.
Adarsha

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