Indian Strategy on Emissions Reduction Targets Set Out at G8 Global Meet in Italy

Global Business Negotiations

Prepared By: Prashant Rampuria 2K81/IB/29

June 1, 2009

The Group of Eight (G8, and formerly the G6 or Group of Six) is a forum, created by France in 1975, for governments of eight nations of the northern hemisphere: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States; in addition, the European Union is represented within the G8, but cannot host or chair. "G8" can refer to the member states or to the annual summit meeting of the G8 heads of government. The former term, G6, is now frequently applied to the six most populous countries within the European Union. G8 ministers also meet throughout the year, such as the G7/8 finance ministers (who meet four times a year), G8 foreign ministers, or G8 environment ministers. Each calendar year, the responsibility of hosting the G8 rotates through the member states in the following order: France (2003), United States (2004), United Kingdom (2005), Russia (2006), Germany (2007), Japan (2008), Italy (2009), and Canada (2010). The holder of the presidency sets the agenda, hosts the summit for that year, and determines which ministerial meetings will take place. Lately, both France and the United Kingdom have expressed a desire to expand the group to include five developing countries, referred to as the Outreach Five (O5) or the Plus Five: Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa. These countries have participated as guests in previous meetings, which are sometimes called G8+5. Recently, France, Germany, and Italy are lobbying to include Egypt to the O5 and expand the G8 to G14.

Dark shade represents G8 countries

Agenda of G8 Meet in L‟Aquila, Italy, at the Major Economic Forum
The agenda for the 35th G8 summit included some issues which remain unresolved from previous summits. The G8 host country was planning to focus its initiatives on the economy, energy issues, sustainable development and climate change. Other issues on the agenda might encompass disarmament, the fight against terrorism and peace efforts in world hot spots. Global health issues and food were also proposed as suitable topics for discussion at the summit. Global health was first introduced as an agenda item nine years ago at the 26th G8 summit in 2000. On the G8 agenda:
     

Climate change. Energy; Nuclear energy. Dialogue with emerging countries. Achievement of millennium development goals. Negotiations on climate change. Development of Africa -- 4 issues (alimentation, global health, water, education) or education, water, food and agriculture, peace support.

  

Intellectual property. Heiligendamm Process. Outreach and expansion.

Indian Strategy on Emissions Reduction Targets Set Out at G8 Global Meet in Italy G8 meet in L’Aquila, Italy, at the Major Economic Forum (MEF) to discuss progress towards a new global climate agreement. The G8 set a goal of cutting all greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050, but developing nations refused to go along. Since emissions from the developing countries are on the whole lower than those of the developed world & will need to continue to rise in the short – terms as they maintain economic growth & address poverty. Rich countries have been responsible for more than 70% of the emissions between 1850 & 2000. India‟s contribution to emissions during these same years was a paltry 2%. If we leave aside this history, Canada, US, Europe, Eurasia & Japan together account for more than 50% of the current emissions & India only 4.4%. If environment were to be viewed as a common resource, which it is, almost any principle of moral philosophy would say that developed countries should bring their emissions down very substantially before they demand similar reductions from the poor countries. The fact that they have emitted a lot in the past & they continue to do so today ought to give them rights to less, not more future emissions than the poor countries. India‟s position remained unchanged & the lead in checking emissions had to be taken by the developed countries. India may seem a heavy polluter due to its large population, but its per capita emissions are just a fraction of those of wealthy nations.


Total CO2 Emissions (BMT in ‟04)

Per Capita (MT in ‟04)
20.4 20.0 10.5 9.8 9.7 9.7 3.8 1.2

US Canada Russia Japan Germany UK China India
Source: UNFCCC, „04

6.049 0.639 1.524 1.257 0.860 0.587 5.010 1.342

Indian economy is growing at 8 to 9% annually while the energy consumption is less than 4%. The National Action Plan on Climate Change focused on renewable sources of energy. There would also be a massive forest cover from 22% now to 33%. This would act as a carbon sink. There can be no contradiction between poverty alleviation, economic & social development & climate change as India is committed to an “ecologically sustainable growth path.” India had made a deviation in India‟s climate change position by accepting, the first time, a global temperature threshold of 2 degree Centigrade. When this declaration, signed by PM Manmohan Singh, is turned into targets for different countries, this may imply substantial emission reduction targets for India even if rich countries take a hefty 80% cut in their own emissions by 2050. While an 80% cut is the most ambitious target ever considered for the developed world, India & China would still be faced with large cuts. India has demanded that unless rich nations put figures on the table about what sort of reductions they are willing to accept collectively by 2020, and then again by 2050, India would not agree to any commitments for the long term which the 2 – degree agreement places on them. Moreover, the science behind the 2-degree target was as yet uncertain. The declaration was about India’s climate change policy or a bilateral declaration between India and another country or a group of countries. Instead it represented a “shared” view among 17 developed and developing countries. Thus it reflects “different approaches and positions of a fairly diverse group of countries.” India would do whatever it could within the limitations of the available resources. “There can be no contradiction between poverty alleviation, economic and social development and climate change.” India is committed to an “ecologically sustainable growth path.” Tony Blair in its article “Breaking the Climate Deadlock” has mentioned the most interesting fact that 70% of reductions needed by 2020 can be achieved by investing in 3 areas:    Increasing energy efficiency Reducing deforestation, & Use of low – carbon energy sources including nuclear & renewable.

Implementing just 7 proven policies can deliver these reductions:        Renewable energy standards Industry efficiency measures Building codes Vehicle efficiency standards Fuel carbon content standards Appliance standards, & Policies for reduced emissions from deforestation & forest degradation (REDD)

All 7 policies already been successfully implemented in countries around the world but they need scaling up. Setting a common target may be achievable by some & may not be the same for others. Developing nations, where industrial development is the major criteria for the economic growth check on emissions may be tough. Thus all the countries individually have to put a tab on their respective emissions & then they can achieve the targets and the climate change will no longer be an issue.

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