India needs the support of other developing countries to ensure that it makes an impact at the Paris climate talks , says Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director General, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). Edited excerpts from an interview with Sarika Malhotra.
Q. What are your expectations from the Paris Talks?
Bhushan: Paris climate agreement must be effective and fair. This means that the agreement should operationalise a framework which would enable the world to keep the temperature increase below 2 degrees. This framework should also be based on fair and equitable burden-sharing. For India it is important that we push for a deal that allows us fair share of the carbon budget to meet the development needs of our people.
Q. What would be India's role in the Paris Talks?
Bhushan: India should reflect the views of the poor of the world. Poor are already suffering because of climate change. From South Asia to Sahel in Africa, climate change is affecting agricultural productivity and water availability. India should demand that developed countries should not only cut their emissions drastically but should also support developing countries in meeting the challenges of climate change.
Q. Paris Talks is seen as a big diplomatic challenge for India. How do you view India's stand?
Bhushan: So far India has taken a stand to safeguard its own interests. But the success of India's stand will depend on how deft are India's diplomatic efforts in bringing to its side other developing countries. India's success will depend on this.
Q. India's stand has been that the developed world must bear a bigger burden than developing countries to control climate change. How is the developed world taking it?
Bhushan: Developed countries are strongly opposing this. The United States has come out with a non-paper which it has circulated to its friends. According to this non-paper, the US wants to remove the difference between developed and developing countries. A climate deal based on equity has been a long-standing demand of India, and CSE has consistently supported and advocated this. We welcome PM Modi's statement in Paris demanding a fair share of carbon space for developing countries and suggesting the way to operationalise equity.
Q. Will there be buyers for India's 'Climate Justice'?
Bhushan: That depends on how India is able to communicate this important concept. There are many developing countries and civil society actors who believe very strongly in climate justice. India will have take them along. By focusing on the principles of the 1992 climate convention as the basis for the Paris climate agreement, with particular emphasis on the role of developed countries in addressing climate change, PM Modi has opposed rewriting of the convention which, of late, has been the agenda of developed countries, particularly the United States. He has also urged developed countries to recognise the challenges faced by developing countries in dealing with the impacts of climate change and asked them to support developing countries by meeting their financial commitment of $100 billion per year from 2020 onwards. His statement has set the tone for the two weeks of negotiations at Paris and provided the ground rules for the Indian negotiators to work towards operationalising equity and accomplishing an ambitious deal at Paris.