Saturday, December 19, 2009

PM’s remarks at the informal plenary of HoS/Gs at the 15th COP at Copenhagen
Following is the text of the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh’s remarks at the informal plenary of Head of States/Governments at the 15th COP at Copenhagen, Denmark today:

“I would like to thank Prime Minister Rasmussen for his efforts in trying to build a global consensus on highly complex issues, involved in climate change, attempting to balance divergent and varied interests.

We have all worked hard to reconcile our different points of view. The outcome may well fall short of expectations. Nevertheless, it can become a significant milestone. I therefore support calls for subsequent negotiations towards building a truly global and genuinely collaborative response to climate change being concluded during 2010.

As we embark on future negotiations, we would do well to take stock of what we have learnt from our efforts over the past two years. I draw three lessons, which should guide us in the task ahead.

Firstly, the vast majority of countries do not support any renegotiation or dilution of the principles and provisions of the UNFCCC, in particular the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

Further, the need for action on our part is more and not less than what was envisaged at the time of the Rio Convention or the Kyoto Protocol. That is why the Bali Action Plan commits us to enhancing the implementation of the UNFCCC.

To settle for something that would be seen as diminished expectations and diminished implementation would be the wrong message to emerge from this Conference. We should therefore reaffirm categorically that our negotiations will continue on the basis of the Bali mandate.

Secondly, the Kyoto Protocol should continue to stand as a valid legal instrument. Parties to the Protocol should deliver on their solemn commitments under the Protocol. It would go against international public opinion if we acquiesce in its replacement by a new and weaker set of commitments.

Finally, it is clear that any agreement on climate change should respect the need for development and growth in developing countries. Equitable burden sharing should underlie any effective global climate change regime. Any new regime will have moral authority and credibility only if it acknowledges that every citizen of the globe has an equal entitlement to the global atmospheric space.

India has a vital stake in the success of the negotiations as we are among the countries most likely to be severely impacted by climate change.

We have therefore adopted and started to implement a major National Action Plan on Climate Change, relying upon our own resources. Our targets include installation of 20,000 MW of solar energy capacity by 2022, improving energy efficiency by 20% by 2020 and adding an additional 6 million hectares of forests over the next several years.

Excellencies, each one of us gathered here today acknowledges that those worst affected by climate change are the least responsible for it. Whatever emerges from our negotiations must address this glaring injustice, injustice to countries of Africa , injustice to the Least Developed Countries, and injustice to the Small Developing States whose very survival as viable nation states is in jeopardy. We in India , too, are vulnerable, but nevertheless as responsible citizens of the globe, we have agreed to take on a voluntary target of reducing the emission intensity of our GDP growth by around 20% by 2020 in comparison to 2005. We will deliver on this goal regardless of the outcome of this Conference. We can do even more if a supportive global climate change regime is put in place.

Excellencies, we have a difficult task ahead of us. I hope we will all play a positive and constructive role so that we can bridge differences and come up with a balanced and also an equitable outcome during the coming year. India will not be found wanting in this regard.”

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