Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pachauri: Copenhagen a Good Outcome

Pachauri: Copenhagen a Good Outcome

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NEW DELHI --The climate change accord reached at the Copenhagen summit is a good outcome but is inadequate to combat global warming, the head of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said Wednesday.

R.K. Pachauri--also the director general of India's The Energy and Resources Institute, or TERI -- told reporters that the accord "provides the foundation on which we can build upon for emission reduction."

However, the pact doesn't specify the level to which developed nations will have to cut their emissions by 2020, he said at a TERI event on the implications of the Copenhagen accord and sustainable development.

The two-week long United Nations climate change conference, which ended last week in the Danish capital, resulted in a U.S.-brokered agreement that sets a commitment to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius. The pact didn't spell out emission reduction goals for 2020 or 2050, which is key to limiting the rise in global temperatures.

"Global emissions must peak no later than 2015," said Mr. Pachauri, chairman of the UN panel which along with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore had won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for spreading awareness about climate change.

"If we deviate from the optimum path, then the human impact on climate change would be far too serious," he said, adding that the cost of not maintaining the two degree Celsius limit on the increase in Earth's temperature would be too high.

The agreement was struck at the last minute between the U.S. and developing countries China, Brazil, India and South Africa after several days of wrangling.

Mr. Pachauri said the emergence of the BASIC group--the term given to the four fast-growing developing nations--is one of the significant events of Copenhagen.

Despite some differences within the BASIC group on certain issues, developed nations will not be able to ignore these countries, Mr. Pachauri said.

"Whatever agreement happens in Mexico in 2010 will necessarily have to deal with the power of this group," he added.

The next climate change summit is scheduled to be held in Mexico City in December 2010.

Commenting on India's climate change stand, Mr. Pachauri said India must not give the impression of being selfish and must work together with small island nations and underdeveloped African countries.

He favored protecting the general provisions of the Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 global-warming accord that doesn't require developing nations, including India and China, to make cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

The Kyoto Protocol also entitles poor countries to receive aid from rich nations to adopt clean energy technologies.

Mr. Pachauri said there was some apprehension during the Copengahen summit that developed countries were trying to pass on the burden of mitigating climate change to the developing nations.

He said a binding agreement to cut emissions would have been adequate to fight global warming, while developed countries should have committed the finances they are willing to part with.

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