Jayaram Ramesh has proved himself to be a skillful negotiator in Copenhagen. He remained within the parameters that he had committed in Parliament. But skillful negotiation is no substitute for statesmanship. After returning to India Ramesh said that what had been achieved in Copenhagen was “good for India, good for the world, and good for earth”.
But what was achieved in Copenhagen?
There was signed the Copenhagen Accord. It was a joint statement drafted by 26 nations that took into account their varied individual declarations of intent which did not necessarily conform to each other.
The United States refused to accept the Kyoto Protocol.
The emission cuts pledged by the developed nations were much below what was required. The developing nations indicated voluntary emission cuts. On China’s insistence no mechanism to monitor these pledges was put in place. Therefore no international verification will be possible.
The US pledged financial assistance to the under developed nations but vaguely and without clear specifics.
In other words the 26 nations could not agree.
So they agreed to disagree.
That is what the Copenhagen Accord is all about.
More than two thirds of the world’s nations were not allowed to participate in the finalization of the draft. These include the poor nations of Africa and Latin America that are most affected by climate change. These nations are furious and bitter with the Copenhagen Accord.
What then is there to celebrate? Just one thing was achieved in the conference. India along with other developing nations China, Brazil and South Africa was allowed to sit at the high table with the developed nations. This was at the cost of earning the displeasure of the vast majority of the world’s poor nations. One day these poor nations will find a leader to speak for them. On present reckoning it will not be India. For quick upward mobilization of empty status the prospect of acquiring the world’s moral leadership has been discarded. The spirit of Mahatma Gandhi has been betrayed. But then, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has never claimed to be a Mahatma, has he? He is just a market reformer.