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Breakfast Meeting on Taking the Bali Process Forward Statement of Mr. P. Chidambaram, Finance Minister

Washington, DC
April 13, 2008

Mr. President, Colleagues and Friends,

1. I am delighted to be present here and compliment the Bank for its initiative to take the Bali process forward. We all have a shared responsibility to think through the complex challenges of climate change and come up with fair, equitable and imaginative solutions.

2. No discussion on climate change can be taken forward without underscoring the deep inequity in the causes and impacts of climate change. The developed world has caused the problem with many decades of unsustainable development process. But it is the poorer countries that will be worst affected. The devastating climate impacts will undermine livelihoods and the way of life of millions of people and, undo many decades of development. Given their responsibility for causing the problem, the developed world has two clear obligations: to massively reduce their GHG emissions, and to provide new and additional financial and technological help to the developing countries to manage mitigation as well as adaptation efforts. 

3. What can the Governments of developing countries do to accelerate the process of adaptation? Governments can start working on key vulnerabilities like “climate proofing” of public infrastructure investments, food security, water resources and pursue policies to incentivize private actions towards energy efficiencies.

4. India’s GHG emissions are among the lowest in per capita terms. They will, of course, inevitably increase as we endeavour to remove poverty and provide basic needs to all the people. Our Prime Minister had categorically declared that even while pursuing development goals, India’s per capita GHG emissions will always remain below the per capita GHG emissions of developed countries. 

5. India has unilaterally taken significant steps to meet the challenges which include measures to promote clean technology, review the fuel emission and efficiency regulations, mass transport systems, encourage the use of gas, building sustainable Greenfield cities. A Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change has been set up. A quick analysis showed that our Government has spent 2.6% of GDP during 2006-07 on adaptation-related activities. We propose to bring out our National Action Programme on Climate Change shortly. Further we are also going to establish a permanent institutional mechanism to play a coordination role to explore and implement ideas on climate change and to take on the important responsibility of advocacy.

6. Global action on climate change will require building trust between developed and developing countries. There must be trust about the neutrality of processes or institutions through which agreements are implemented, money is disbursed or disputes are resolved. Climate justice must inform all efforts at international cooperation in this field. The solutions should include fair burden sharing and measures to realize sustainable patterns of consumption and production. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change should be the only basis for a global compact, anchored as it is in the well-established principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibility.

7. Whether it is Hurricane Katrina; perennial rivers going dry; huge ice-shelves breaking apart in the Antarctic; the threat to the Himalayan glaciers; un-seasonal rains, or dramatic changes in the migratory patterns of the Siberian cranes, each of these events is a constant reminder of the urgency for taking action. Let us join hands and I assure you, India is and will continue to be a responsible and conscientious citizen of the world.

Thank You.