Ban lobbying India for ratifying Paris climate accord

Ban lobbying India for ratifying Paris climate accord

United Nations, Sep 14 (IANS) With India’s ratification of the the Paris Agreement on combating climate crucial to the accord coming into force early, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is lobbying New Delhi to ratify it and has been in contacts with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other officials, according to his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

“There have been contacts between the Secretary General and the Prime Minister and at other levels, and I think it’s no secret that the Secretary General very much hopes that at the climate event which will be coming up next week, more countries will be bringing their instruments of ratification,” Dujarric told the media on Tuesday.

“Ban is continuing his lobbying effort, if you will, to all concerned member states,” he said.

Dujarric said this while replying to a question at daily briefing — whether Ban was in close contact with the New Delhi leadership “to prod India to signing or ratifying the agreement”.

While reporters called India an “outlier”, Dujarric explained, “We fully understand that there are different constitutional processes in different countries. Some take more time. Some take less time.”

He cited the example of the European Union, which is also lagging in ratifying the agreement.

“We know that the EU is in a particular spot where all of them have to agree before any can,” he said.

Ban has convened next Wednesday a high-level event for countries to deposit their ratification documents.

He had hoped it would have the required ratifications for the agreement to enter into force, but a week before the event it was not certain if it would as only 27 countries had ratified it.

At least 55 countries that together account for 55 per cent of the output of greenhouse gases have to ratify it before it comes into force.

For both Ban and US President Barack Obama, who are in the last months of their terms in office, the climate change agreement to keep global warming rise to below two degrees Celsius is considered their legacy.

India’s ratification is considered important for the agreement to take effect early.

The two top emitters of greenhouse gases, the US and China together account for 38 per cent and India, which is a distant third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, four per cent, according to the annexure to the agreement.

New Delhi can help reach the 55 per cent mark after all the other smaller emitters have ratified.

China and the US have ratified the agreement and Chinese Presidents Xi Jinping and Obama handed over the documents to Ban at the G20 summit in Hangzhou in China, earlier this month.

Although Modi and Obama said in their joint statement in June that the two nations would ratify the agreement this year, India is lagging.

While there is strong opposition to agreement in the Republican-controlled Senate, Obama side-stepped it by not treating it as a treaty, which would have needed the legislative approval, but rather as an agreement.

India signed the accord in April, but has not formally ratified it. Niti Aayog head Arvind Panagariya told the media in Hangzhou during the G20 meeting that New Delhi was unlikely to ratify it this year.

According to various reports, New Delhi is linking its ratification to its admission to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, an international consortium that controls the export of nuclear materials, that would guarantee access to nuclear materials for civilian uses. While there was broad support to the US initiative for giving India membership, China blocked it.

India has not openly made NSG membership a biding condition for Paris accord ratification, but the Indian External Affairs Ministry hinted at it in June after New Delhi was turned down, “Our application has acquired an immediacy in view of India’s INDC (intended nationally determined contributions to reducing greenhouse gases under the Paris agreement) envisaging 40 per cent non-fossil power generation capacity by 2030. An early positive decision by the NSG would have allowed us to move forward on the Paris Agreement.”

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