In the context of global warming and the negotiations, it is important to understand the gulf between the global North and the South. It is developed countries from the North that are responsible for the historical greenhouse gas emissions that caused global warming. But the developing countries from the South are more vulnerable to climate change because of geographical and atmospheric factors, and poverty.
There is no denying the responsibility that both have towards fighting climate change. But it is the developed countries which have more financial and technological resources. So, it is important to have the principles of equity and justice included in the deal along with a promise that there will be transfer of technology and financial resources available to the developing countries.
It is these issues that are a primary concern for India and other developing countries. At a side-event, Sunita Narain, director-general of the Centre for Science and Environment said that equity will not derail the process but strengthen it. She also referred to the 1992 climate convention where it was agreed that countries that created problems would cut emissions first, and finance and technology would provide options to avoid pollution. But at Doha, the text of the working group on Long-Term Cooperative Action (LCA) is said to have blank pages for certain subjects and several key issues like finance, equity and intellectual property rights did not find a place in the document.
Many developed countries say that the issue of equity is important but it can’t be allowed to derail the process. But a commitment needs to be based on principles like fairness, equity and justice. These are the ideals that the social fabric of a community strives for. And it is these that would strengthen a commitment towards providing a solution to the biggest challenge that we face today.
Let’s hope that with the arrival of the ministers and heads of State, negotiations in the last two days will see a turn-around on these issues!