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Mon. Dec 5th, 2022
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SHARM EL-SHEIKH: With the issue of ‘loss and damage’ finance being heated up during last leg of negotiations at UN climate talks (COP27) on the question whether big current emitter like India should also pay for it, Indian negotiators on Wednesday termed the demand a ploy of certain interest groups to unfairly shift responsibilities from developed to developing countries.
The European Union (EU) spiced up the entire debate by clearly saying that China should contribute funding to the ‘loss and damage’ finance to help the vulnerable countries to cover the cost of climate damage. “I think we should take the situation of today. China is one of the biggest economies on the planet with a lot of financial strength. Why should they not be made co-responsible for funding?…In 1992, there was a reasoning behind this which I could follow. But no longer in 2022,” said the EU climate policy chief Frans Timmermans while responding to a question on China and India.
He, however, preferred not to take India’s name — which is seen here as an attempt to decouple India from China on this front. But at the same time, Timmermans made it very clear that the money for loss and damage must go to only the most vulnerable countries and not to all the developing countries as proposed by the G77 group in its proposal on the ‘loss and damage’ financing.
Though the demands to get contribution from India came mostly on the sidelines from small and extremely vulnerable countries such as Mauritius, Jamaica, Uganda and Mali, the Indian negotiators while responding to such demands said the false narrative of the country being among the largest emitters is promoted by those who owe the world an enormous carbon debt and developing countries should not fall for this mistaken discourse.
“The question of India’s mandatory contribution to loss and damage financing does not arise,” said an official, on condition of anonymity, while noting how the country has voluntarily doing its bit through Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) and other related mechanisms.
Officials here pointed out that the IPCC’s AR6 Reports tells it clearly that the responsibility for warming is directly proportional to the contribution to cumulative emissions of CO2. As noted by the report, India’s share is less than 4% of the historical cumulative emissions from the pre-industrial period (1850) till 2019.
As far as per capita emissions is concerned as it provides an objective scale for comparison, India’s current emissions are about one-third of the global average. “If the entire world were to emit at the same per capita level as India, the best available science tells us that there would be no climate crisis,” said the official. India ranks 129th based on average per capita cumulative emissions until 2019 whereas 126th based on average annual per capita emissions.
On an argument among least developed countries about India that the country has made a lot of progress economically and emitted a lot in the process in the past three decades and therefore it should also be on board as one of the contributors, officials pointed out that India’s share of cumulative emissions of CO2 is only 5% since 1990 and these low shares are despite India being home to more than one-sixth of the world population.
Arguing why India should not mandatorily pay for ‘loss and damage’ finance, Indian officials flagged the fair share of the carbon budget which was consumed substantially by the developed countries over the years.
“Considering the fair share of the global carbon budget for countries, and calculating their carbon debt and credit, the Annex-I (developed) countries owe the world a carbon debt of 790 GtCO2 from cumulative emissions between 1850 – 2019. Monetized, even at the modest carbon price of $100 per tonne of CO2 , the Annex-I countries owe the world a carbon debt worth $79 trillion. This is the correct and equitable way of setting the benchmark for loss and damage calculations. By the same benchmark, India has a carbon credit of more than 248 GtCO2 worth trillions,” said an official.
On the question of decoupling India and China on the issue as there must be perhaps some differences among G77 (developing countries) group, Indian officials claimed that all the countries of G77 are, in fact, together on ‘loss and damage’ and other issues, and it was also well reflected in the BASIC – group of Brazil, South Africa, India and China – meeting on Tuesday.
“This thread of unity is due to the common circumstances that all these countries face as a consequence of the excessive emissions of developed countries. Various false narratives are floated by those who have opposed this unity consistently. We are confident that with the leadership of all the various sections of G77& China, a just and equitable agreement would be reached,” said the official.

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