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Wednesday, 30 October, 2002, 14:27 GMT
India rejects climate change pressure
Greenhouse gases are to be cut by 2%
India has rejected pressure on poor nations to step up efforts to tackle global warming by cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Developing countries do not have adequate resources to meet their human needs

Indian Prime Minister AB Vajpayee
In comments at a UN meeting on climate change in Delhi, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee argued that countries like India produced only a fraction of the total greenhouse gas emissions, and could not afford the extra costs of cutting them.

More than 170 countries are attending the meeting and are already divided over what should be included in the final resolution.

The meeting - the eighth in the UN climate change process - is designed to prepare the way for ratification of the Kyoto Protocol next year which is intended to halt global warming.

'Fragile economies'

Opening the ministerial talks at the conference, the Indian prime minister said poor countries should not be set targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

At the moment, the Kyoto protocol does not set emission levels for developing countries.

A poster makes the Indian prime minister's point
"Climate change mitigation will bring additional strain to the already fragile economies of the developing countries and will affect our efforts to achieve higher GDP growth rates to eradicate poverty speedily."

He said India's per capita greenhouse gas emissions were only a fraction of the world average, and below that of many developed countries.

Delegates are divided on the text of the Delhi Declaration, which will sum up the discussions of the 10-day meeting.


As drafted at present, the declaration excludes any reference to the Kyoto Protocol, which is due to be implemented next year and which sets targets to cut the emission of greenhouse gases and restrict global warming.

The final declaration is said to concentrate more on how countries should prepare and adapt for climate change rather than stop it happening.

Environmental groups say this is an attempt to water down the provisions of the protocol.

Delegates from the European Union are arguing that the declaration should be much stronger in its wording and should include specific reference to Kyoto.

India 'accused'

The Indian Government, the hosts of the conference, want the declaration to stress that developing countries are most vulnerable to drought and flooding and other effects of climate change.

BBC Science correspondent Richard Black says some environmental groups have accused the Indians of watering down the agreement to please the US.

The accusation follows charges a few months ago that the US engineered the election of Indian scientist Rajendra Pachauri as head of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change.

Critics say Dr Pachauri follows the US line on global warming - something which he denies.

Canada's environment minister David Andersen
"This is probably the most difficult issue the world community has ever faced"
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee
"Our greenhouse gas emissions are only a fraction of the world average"
See also:

23 Oct 02 | Science/Nature
03 Sep 02 | Europe
03 Sep 02 | Africa
29 Aug 02 | Africa
02 Sep 02 | Africa
02 Sep 02 | Africa
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