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Remarks by the Hon'ble Pranab Mukherjee,Minister of External Affairs of India, at the Meeting of Major Economics

Washington, DC
September 27, 2007

Your Excellencies, 
Distinguished Delegates,

Please allow me to begin by thanking President Bush for this timely initiative on Energy Security and Climate Change, two of the most daunting challenges confronting the world today. 

We are happy to note that this is a meeting of major economies, which allows for exploration of opportunities for large scale cooperative action on Energy Security and Climate Change. In India’s case, we have a very small individual carbon footprint with per-capita CO2 emissions being just about a quarter of the world’s average. However, our willingness to engage in finding practical, pragmatic solutions, and cooperating in advanced clean technologies for the benefit of entire humankind are second to none. 

Ladies & Gentlemen,

Energy security is a matter of considerable concern to us, given the direct link between energy consumption and human development. The imperative of meeting our people’s aspirations for a better life, demands that India grow rapidly at around 8% - 10% each year in the coming decades. India needs to substantially increase per-capita electricity consumption and cannot compromise on this. Rapid economic growth and concomitant energy production and electricity consumption will increase CO2 emissions. However, we are determined that even as we pursue economic growth, our per-capita GHG emissions will not increase beyond those of the industrialized countries. 

India’s efforts include increased energy efficiency and conservation and the use of renewable and clean energy like nuclear. With about 7,000 MW of installed wind-power, we now have the fourth-highest wind generated electricity capacity in the world. Targeted demand side management programmes have brought energy efficiency in India in all the major energy intensive sectors – steel, aluminium, fertilizer, paper and cement – to global levels. We have also made other efforts. These include introducing CNG for public and private transport in metropolitan areas, metro rail networks, a major bio-diesel program and the blending of ethanol in petrol. One of the world’s largest afforestation efforts in recent times called Green India, covering six million hectares of degraded forest land, is underway in India.

Distinguished Delegates, 

India faces extreme climate variability. We spend more than 2 percent of our GDP each year in development measures with strong adaptation content like cyclone warning and protection, flood and drought control and relief and food security measures. Further global warming is inevitable as a result of the accumulated concentration of GHG in the atmosphere caused by emissions from the industrialized countries. The key issue for India and other developing countries is developing the ability to cope with the adverse impacts of Climate Change and adapt to it. This requires technological and financial resources that can only come through development, which, without doubt, is the best form of adaptation. The time is not ripe for us to take on quantitative targets of emissions limitation. These would be counter-productive and have a negative effect on our development process. Developed countries need to continue to take the lead in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.

In this context, we are pleased by this meeting’s emphasis on technology. Any long term solution to climate change requires the development and diffusion of technologies for adaptation. We would urge research & development in clean technologies that could be advanced through programmes of collaborative R&D between institutions in developed and developing countries. The sharing of IPRs is crucial. A more fair balance between rewards to the innovator, and the global imperative of sustainable development, is essential, if large-scale deployment of advanced, clean technologies is to occur. Technology control regimes need to be dispensed with for advanced clean technologies. Standards and priorities should reflect the developmental context to which they apply. 

Ladies & Gentlemen

We appreciate the lead taken by the USA in hosting this meeting, which is bound to throw up a rich variety of diverse ideas. We are confident that this meeting will greatly facilitate negotiations at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

Thank You
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