India Part of Major Economies Meet on Climate Change

by Venkatraman on Sep 25 2007 1:34 PM

Key energy, economic and environment officials from the world's 17 major economies, including India, plus the United Nations are meeting here Sep 27-28 to search for a new framework for energy security and climate change.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will represent India at the first in a series of meetings aimed at reaching agreement during 2008 on the key elements of a UN convention of a post-2012 framework.

Mukherjee may also meet US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is hosting the Washington meeting, to discuss the India-US nuclear deal and other bilateral issues on the sidelines.

Called at the initiative of President George W. Bush, the meeting will look at ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing energy security and efficiency, and sustaining economic growth.

The Washington conclave follows another meeting on the climate change issue organised by the United Nations on the eve of the UN General Assembly session in New York Monday.

Jim Connaughton, chairperson of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, listed five key elements of the Washington meeting's agenda from the American perspective.

First, working on the process and principles for reaching agreement on a long-term global goal for reducing emissions.

Second, achieving a common understanding of the current national strategies among all of the major economies for achieving their energy security and emission reduction goals.

Third, advancing technology and new practices to reduce greenhouse gases by checking C02 emissions from coal-fired electricity generation, transportation based on petroleum-based fuels, and unsustainable rate of deforestation.

Fourth, how to better accelerate the use of current portfolio of technologies -nuclear energy, wind; and solar, and other forms of renewable energy - and how to raise an estimated $17 trillion to be spent over the next 20 years on energy and associated systems and services.

Fifth, work together to find a harmonised system of emissions accounting.

Besides India and host United States, the meeting will be attended by United Nations, European Union, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and United Kingdom.

Bush proposed this initiative in a speech May 31 explaining the need for the major developed and developing countries - the ones that use the most energy and produce the most greenhouse gases - to be at the same table, working together to set goals and formulate approaches for achieving them.

The proposal was endorsed by the leaders of the G8 countries at their summit at Heiligendamm who agreed "addressing climate change is a long-term issue that will require global participation in a diversity of approaches to take into account differing circumstances".

Earlier this month, 21 leaders of the APEC nations in the Asia Pacific, nine of whom will be attending the major economies conference, also welcomed the proposal.