UN climate talks will fail without acknowledgment of rich/poor divide, says Indian diplomat

By RTCC Staff

The UN climate change negotiations will fail unless the varying ability of rich and poor countries to respond is properly acknowledged, according to former Indian diplomat Nitin Desai.

Desai, a trustee of WWF International and a member of the Indian Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change, believes the concept of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) will continue to play a key role in the negotiations.

“If you try to solve these problems at a community or global level without differentiation based on capacity you will fail. If you try to get an agreement without differentiation based on capacity you will fail,” Desai told RTCC.

CBDR, which is written into the fabric of the UNFCCC, ensures that a country’s response to climate change is proportionate to their historical emissions and their capacity to respond.

The proposed new global deal on climate change, in Durban last year to be developed by 2015, will include commitments from all nations. The Durban Platform does not explicitly include CBDR and there are concerns as to how pledges from developing nations will be decided.

Desai said acquiring those pledges will not be easy.

“The reason we are running into problems here [with the talks] is that Western countries have failed,” said Desai.

“They have failed to meet goals and targets on emission reductions, on financial support and technological support. It’s difficult for them to say ‘I know I can’t do as much as I claimed I would, but you should do more’.”

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