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Developing Countries Wait for US to Lead in Tackling Climate Change

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Developed countries, especially the United States, should take the lead in climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, as developing countries such as India have already been making a contribution by pursuing sustainable development, an Indian delegate told Xinhua Tuesday at the UN Climate Change Talks.

Key issues under controversy

Asked about the progress of the latest round of talks from September 28 to October 9, which leads to December's Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, Shyam Saran, Indian Prime Minister's Special Envoy who attends the talks as a senior delegate, said that some progress has been made, but "we still have a long way to go...At this point of time, it looks rather difficult, I think, for us to get an agreed document by Copenhagen Conference."

Shyam sees most important issue in the negotiations whether or not the developed countries are able to come up with very clear and significant target for reduction of their emissions, on which all parties so far have not been able to get to an agreement.

In a similar situation is the issue of financing, he said. "If developing countries are expected to take on additional responsibilities beyond what we are already doing, then unless there is a clarity about the amount of finances which will be available, unless there is a clarity about technology transferred, it will be very difficult for them to really take forward their own climate adaptation plans."

India's next step

Talking about the steps India has made recently to tackle the climate issue, Shyam said, "what we have agreed is that whatever we are going to be doing domestically, whatever targets we are going to put on ourselves, we can report to UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)...that is a positive step forward we have made."

About two weeks ago, in a turnaround from the previous stance, India agreed to quantify emission reductions, though not in a legally binding form, into "a broadly indicative number that can be shared with the rest of the world," as Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh put it.

Shyam also introduced what his government would do next. Under India's national action panel on climate change there are eight national missions, he said, citing the national mission on solar energy, on enhanced energy efficiency, on “Green India”, which means to increase the forest cover in the country, on sustainable agriculture, and on water.

With missions that cover both the aspect of mitigation as well as the aspect of adaptation, "what we have said is that in each of these missions, whenever possible, we will set domestic targets that we would want to achieve by certain dates. That is part of the planning process."

He stressed, however, that those performance targets is not in the nature of taking on international obligation for emission reduction, which, he said, is something for the developed countries to do.

"As far as our voluntary actions are concerned, and whatever we are able to do within the limitation of our resources, we will be very happy to report to the international community," said he.

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