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India slams new UN recommendation on carbon cuts

by Staff Writers
New Delhi (AFP) Nov 27, 2007
India on Tuesday slammed a recommendation in a new report from the UN Development Programme that urges developing countries cut carbon emissions by 20 percent over three decades starting in 2020.

The report released in Brazil on Tuesday on fighting climate change said global warming could have apocalyptic consequences for the world's poor and also said richer countries need to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050.

"This looks egalitarian, but it isn't," said Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of India's national policy making body, the Planning Commission, in New Delhi, pointing out in terms of per capita emissions the US emits 20 tonnes, the European Union 10 to 15 tonnes and India one.

Ahluwalia added the report "does not address the key issues of equality and equity."

Past climate negotiations have agreed that the bulk of greenhouse gases that are causing global warming have been produced by rich countries as they industrialised over the last 150 years.

But scientists expect that some of the worst affected by climate change will be the poor in developing countries, especially those with large populations dependent on agriculture.

South Asia is forecast to be one of the worst hit by global warming, with the Ganges river expected to lose two-thirds of its July to September flow, causing water shortages for more than 500 million people.

Ahluwalia said he hoped delegates to a key UN climate conference on the Indonesian island of Bali starting on December 3 would examine a suggestion made by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Germany in June.

Singh proposed that developing countries pledge never to exceed emissions of developed countries.

"The key point was to shift from discussing total emissions, which is what this report does, to talking about per capita emissions -- your carbon footprint," said Ahluwalia.

The world's biggest emitter for decades has been the United States, accounting for more than 20 percent of the world's production of carbon dioxide emissions.

But emissions have also rapidly grown in the developing world -- China is now in second place at 16 percent and India is among the top five emitters at six percent.

Developing countries say they cannot yet make commitments to cut their emissions because it will hamper economic growth.

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