COP 15 – Copenhagen Climate Change Conference: A new beginning for change?

Since the past two days I have been interacting with people talking about the Copenhagen Conference to be held in December 2009. Its quite interesting, I thought, that the media has made the jargon accessible and I find words like Climate Change and even Kyoto Protocol being used everywhere. After hearing these words being mouthed by some most improbable people, I was motivated enough to look up the Copenhagen Conference. And here I am sharing a few snippets of information that I managed to garner. Here goes….

What is it that the world is looking forward to from the Copenhagen Conference? Though, quite ambitious in itself, this conference ‘merely’ aims to bring clarity on the action towards Climate Change that the major economies of the world will take up. This is what the UN Exec Secretary of (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Mr Yvo de Boer aims to achieve at the least. He speaks about bringing clarity on four essentials for collective International agreement namely:
1. How much are the industrialized countries willing to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases?
2. How much are major developing countries such as China and India willing to do to limit the growth of their emissions?
3. How is the help needed by developing countries to engage in reducing their emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change going to be financed?
4. How is that money going to be managed? (ref:, October 8, 2009)

From some of my discussions with energy sector people, I came to know that India is in a Catch 22 situation in the negotiations at this Conference. If India fights for equity (since India’s average energy consumption per capita is significantly lower that even China and of course all other developed nations) during these negotiations, India is going to end up destabilising the Climate Change situation…considering its population and growth rate. On the other hand, if India agrees to restrictions on emissions (that’s where there is a rift between Developed countries and Developing countries), we are on a better path towards curbing Climate Change for the world, but losing out on the equity issue (again, just the sheer population numbers of India and China matter so much in these negotiations). So on one side is India’s right to an equitable sharing of energy resources of the world, at the cost of destabilising emissions of the world, while on the other, is a perceived restrictive energy policy. What do we choose?

Personally, I feel, adversity (or in this case, restrictions) will power INNOVATION! Innovations, particularly geared towards Sustainability, will lead India towards Sustainable Development. I agree with Mr K Sarabhai, Director of CEE, India, when he says that “do we as a nation follow the same route as Developed countries towards Development? Or do we innovate to leapfrog towards Sustainable Development?”

I know that this sounds simpler that it actually is. But, do we really have a choice? Can we fight for equity, while ignoring the basic survival of our race? Then for whom will this energy equity be?

Just on a closing note, it is rumoured (or rather, forecast) that President Barack Obama may be able to convince India and China on taking up emission reduction targets – a step further from the Kyoto Protocol, and thus a big leap for Climate Change Action in the World!

Lets hope that Copenhagen will trigger ACTION, because INACTION is the worst enemy of Environment!

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