India wants spotlight on per capita emissions

Ahead of the next round of climate talks in Germany in June, India is trying to bring the emphasis back on per capita emissions, something that was rather muted in the outcome of the Copenhagen climate change conference last year.

New Delhi has stressed that the long-term goal of keeping the global rise in temperature to within 2 degree Celsius, which India also agrees to, "must be preceded by a paradigm for equitable sharing of carbon space based on per capita accumulative emissions".

"Global atmospheric resource is the common property of all mankind and each human being has an equal entitlement to use of this resource on the basis of per capita accumulative convergence of emissions," New Delhi has said in its submission to the working group that is finalising the long-term actions that need to be taken to tackle climate change.

Per capita emissions, as enshrined in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, has been at the heart of India's argument in the climate debate. However, the Copenhagen Accord, which India had helped finalise, only mentioned 'equity' and was vague on whether this equity had to be ensured through per capita.

New Delhi has also rejected the idea of defining a 'peak year' for emissions for developing countries. The Copenhagen Accord said that countries need to cooperate towards achieving the peaking of global and national emissions "recognising that the time frame for peaking will be longer in developing countries".

"Considering the fact that emissions in developing countries are bound to rise in course of eradication of poverty and social and economic development, there can be no 'peaking year' for their emissions," it said.

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