India’s chief economic advisor has urged the government to focus less on getting climate funding from developed nations and more on reducing emissions, while aligning with other coal-rich nations instead of its traditional developing-nation allies, the Business Standard reported on Wednesday.
In a note to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Arvind Subramanian – the government’s chief economic advisor – said India should change its climate change negotiation tactics, according to the paper.
Subramanian recommended that India should:
• End its focus on getting international funding for climate change adaptation, as economically struggling developed countries are unlikely to pay up;
• Put more emphasis on emission reductions, as India is vulnerable to climate change and worse placed to deal with it than richer nations;
• Work closer with coal-rich nations such as China, Australia, Poland and even the United States, and less with groups such as BASIC, the G77 and the African Group; and
• Give up its insistence on maintaining the “firewall” between developed and developing nations in UN talks.
It is unclear if the Cabinet would approve of Subramanian’s proposals, but even a partial acceptance would represent a major change in negotiation strategy by a country that often has been accused of obstructing progress in UN climate talks.
New Delhi has been relentless in demanding that rich countries live up to their Copenhagen pledge of providing $100 billion per year in climate finance by 2020, and in maintaining that the UNFCCC principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” means the onus of cutting emissions is on developed countries.
But according to the Business Standard, Subramanian wrote in his note that “these issues can be used as bargaining chips in the final negotiations”.
The advisor argued that the strategy revamp would boost Prime Minister Modi’s reputation as an “international global leader” and help India’s bid to gain a seat on the UN Security Council.
The report did not make it clear which international emission reduction goals Subramanian wanted India to aim for in the December Paris talks.
India’s Cabinet is expected to approve the nation’s INDC later this month, but the final negotiation strategy for the crucial summit will only be finalised in October or November.