(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
December 20, 2009
THE global negotiations on climate change at
Inspite of the expectation so far, all the important statements and gestures coming from Obama and Hillary Clinton to UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon, suggest that there is a concerted move from the side of developed world to jettison the Kyoto protocol and Bali action plan.
Efforts are on to pressurise the developing world to accept the universal approach and allow the developed countries to get away without accepting their historical responsibility for climatic change and hence overwhelming share of burden for repairing the damage to environment.
reminds one of unfolding of the tragic
Shakespearean dilemma of Hamlet, the Prince of
Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC) that began in 1990 has by now established that
concentration of green house gases in the atmosphere is rapidly
levels beyond which irreversible and potentially catastrophic changes
climate could occur. While these changes will affect all of humanity,
affected will be the poor especially in the developing world.
there is an urgent need to act in
limiting such emissions to ensure that global temperatures do not rise
There is however another view that global warming may be happening due
factors much beyond human activities. Despite all scientific advances
area where little is known is what is happening under our feet on our
Drilling for 19 years to probe the depths of Earth, whose radius is
over 6000 kilometers,
the Soviets reached a depth of nearly 13 kilometers before the
nevertheless should not detract the efforts
humanity must make to ensure that life breathes cleaner air and
changes that affect both livelihood and quality of life of billions are
reversed. Last two decades of negotiations were aimed at achieving
was based on the inviolable principle of “common but differentiated
responsibility”, underling the fact that the developed countries,
contributed the most to Green House emissions must undertake greater
responsibility now in reducing them. The Kyoto Protocol 1997 set
targets for the developed countries while exempting developing
calling upon them to take appropriate measures commensurate with their
capabilities. Developed countries, instead of reducing emissions by
cent compared to 1990, increased their cumulative emissions by ten
precisely this that they are resisting by
calling upon all countries, including themselves, to
announce voluntary internationally
monitored cuts. They are thus, jettisoning the so far accepted concept
`differentiated responsibility' and imposing an unjust `common' order.
It is this
that needs to be resisted at
The two red lines drawn by the Indian parliament -- a) no binding emission cuts will be acceptable and b) there shall be no deadline for peaking of emissions by the developing countries – will have to be adhered to.
non-negotiable. The developed
countries cannot negate their `historical responsibility' and continue
their pillage of global climate at the expense of the vast majority of
humanity. They need to be forced to continue to accept per capita
the basis of energy equality as every human being on the planet, should
equal access to carbon space. Such inequality – per capita emissions in
Thus, Hamlet's dilemma continues.
“To be or not to be: that is the question:
Whether `tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortunes,
Or to take arms against the sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?”
Unlike in the play humanity can ill afford the tragic end in the hope of an eternal reunion in an ethereal world. Mortals need a just equitable deal. In its absence, no deal is better than a bad deal.
The author is attending the summit as part of the five member Indian parliamentary delegation
(December 16, 2009)