For India, it’s All About Equity!


The Indian delegation, during the climate negotiations at COP 20 Lima, clearly stated its priority for equity to be a crucial element going into Paris 2015. However, for India to continue being a strong champion of equity in the climate talks; it would require a framework which is based on the principles of convention and which would provide appropriate indicators to measure equitable share along with countries.

For a country like India, which is yet to meet the large gap of its development needs on one hand; and is simultaneously moving towards economic growth trajectory on the other, right to development is the bottomline for the basis of all climate talks.

Setting its priorities undoubtedly, India has made it clear that it cannot afford to jeopardise the current development needs of the country; and does not want the developed countries to circumscribe India’s development goals. However, India is ready to take the best possible and cleanest route to this development; which would need assurance from the rich nations, on the issue of technology transfer and financial support. Using this equitable approach for balancing India’s development and emission reduction, this should subsequently form the basis of India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

Furthermore, for equity to be operationalised, Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) should define fair share of a country in occupying global carbon space. India is now in a position where it has to re-emphasise principles of CBDR, by carefully assessing its historic responsibilities. Therefore, CBDR principles need to determine the fair allocation of both mitigation actions, as well as the provision of financial and technological support.

Lastly, considering the climate change sensitivities of vulnerable regions of the country, India has emphasised on its adaptation needs, which are likely to increase the temperature by 2°C, further warming the world. India is foreseeing the fact that huge adaptation needs of the country would require dedicated resources, which would adequately be shared with mitigation needs as well.

Beyond all these realisations, the big question coming into play is- how is India going to move beyond these principles of equity, to identify tangibles for defining the basis of negotiations for 2015 agreement? Equity backed with tangible indicators, which acknowledge development needs and historical emissions of the country would help the country bag its fair share in the negotiations.  Therefore, it is time that India moves beyond the ethical arguments and starts advocating its strong case for equity through robust frameworks.

Harshita Bisht

The views expressed in the article are those of the author’s and not necessarily those of Development Alternatives.

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