India: Delhi to Host Climate Change Meeting

CHENNAI, July 14 -- India will host the Eighth Conference of Parties (COP-8) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at New Delhi between
October 23 and November 1.

Addressing a meeting organised by the Federation of Indian Chamber of
Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI)
and the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), the Union
Environment Minister, Mr T.R. Baalu, said hosting the COP was a
significant achievement for India.

He said the industry has a very important stake in global climate
change matters since half of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are
from it.

The Indian industry should also get involved with international
negotiations as it provides an opportunity for foreign investments and
partnerships, he said. "These partnerships may result in the foreign
partners providing efficient technologies, besides partial or full
finance," he added.

Since India's energy system is anchored in coal which has high GHG
emissions, the aim will be to look at low carbon intensive fuel
without compromising the country's security, he said.

According to Dr G.B. Pant, Director of Indian Institute of Tropical
Meteorology (IITM), the area where focused studies need to be done
relate to how global warming will affect weather conditions in the
country. There has been a prominent rise in the average Indian
temperatures in the last 50 to 100 years.

Mr Vijai Sharma, former Indian representative at the UNFCCC
negotiations, said it is a matter of great pride for India to be able
to host the COP-8. Since unlike the two earlier COPs, this conference
does not have a negotiating agenda, it is likely to have more
meaningful discussions, he said.

The critical aspect will be the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by
the Russian Federation, which contributes 17.4 per cent of the global
GHG emission, he said. To come into effect, the protocol needs to be
ratified by 55 countries, who together add up to at least 55 per cent
of the global GHG emission.

With the US, which accounted for 25 per cent of the global GHG
emission walking out of the protocol, the need for the other developed
countries joining in is critical. At present, countries that have
ratified the protocol add up to 36 per cent of the GHG emission. With
Russia putting in its 17.4 per cent the target could be reached, Mr
Sharma said.

Among the significant issues that could come in for discussion at the
COP-8 will be the fate of those substances that are a good replacement
for ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons but have a greenhouse effect.

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