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Long wait for climate equity

Doha, Dec. 5: The principle of equity in global climate-change negotiations, which forms the core of India’s demand, is set to remain only as a “principle” as of now and will perhaps only be seriously considered after the next review report of the IPCC (the Inter-governmental panel for climate change).

The report is scheduled to be released in 2014 and by that time, most experts believe getting a fair deal on equity will become an even tougher task — may be impossible — for developing countries, including India.

Today, during a meeting in Doha on equity, organised by environmental non-profit Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and the Indian ministry of environment and forests, a senior negotiator hinted at the possibility in response to The Telegraph’s query.

“While there is a general sense of acceptance to equity as principle but there seems to be discomfort among many (countries) about the articulation regarding its operationalisation ” said R.R. Rashmi, joint secretary in the ministry and a lead negotiator.

The official added that perhaps “we have to wait till 2014 for operationalisation of equity ” in climate negotiation when the next IPCC review report will be published. This, according to Rashmi, will specify the respective responsibilities in emission and global warming.

Earlier, in the same meeting, Sunita Narain, the CSE director-general, pointed out how the absence of equity in climate negotiations has been hurting and will hurt the future of developing countries. She said “any delay” would further magnify the inequity.

“India should come out of the Doha talks if the concept of equity is junked,” Narain said.

The Indian negotiator said any agreement on equity would require political unanimity and hinted that such concurrence was absent now. Asked whether the absence of Indian environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan in the Doha deliberations would hamper the bargaining power in the political discourse, the negotiator chose not to respond. Natarajan is in Delhi because of the Parliament session.