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Dr RK Pachauri, the man at the center of negotiations at the Copenhagen Summit, speaks on the Copenhagen accord.
Dr RK Pachauri was at the center of negotiations at the Summit as the head of the intergovernmental panel on climate change and the Director General of TERI.
In an interview with CNBC-TV18, Pachauri spoke about the takeaways from the Summit and the road ahead.
Below is a verbatim transcript of the interview. Also watch the video.
Q: In your initial reaction to the Copenhagen accord – you have used the words good but not adequate. Is that using both the glass half full and half empty approach to evaluate it?
A: It is not adequate simply because while the accord itself is good and I can give you reasons why I consider it good but its inadequate because it doesn’t have the buy in of all the countries of the world and we now have to create that acceptance and support from all the countries of the world to the basic principles of what has been agreed.
Q: But you are not calling it a failure, which many people have called it – an outright failure because a) it has not come in with something that replaces the Kyoto protocol and b) its not legally binding. So nobody is accountable at all where climate change and efforts to reduce what is happening is concerned, isn’t it?
A: When you determine whether this was a success or a failure you also need to look at the entire process – not merely the outcome of the product. The process has a lot of promising features. We had over a 100 heads of state and heads of government to congregated it at Copenhagen and they came there essentially because they thought this was an important issue. You should also look at the fact that the world today and people at large are much better informed about climate change than what the case was three years ago. Also there is certain momentum, which I hope will carry us to an agreement soon.
So, if you look at all this all that has happened clearly it is success in some sense but what would have been really desirable and what would have defined success in every sense would have been an agreement by all the countries of the world taking care of some of the issues that have been left out.
Q: Would you agree with me if I said all that effort at Copenhagen resulted in maintaining status quo?
A: We have gone beyond status quo because one very important part of this accord is the acceptance by at least the countries that are signatories to the accord of limiting temperature increase to 2 degree Celsius. That I think is a major achievement. They have also referred to the science and the fourth assessment report of the IPPCC on the basis of which they have arrived at this figure of 2 degree increase in temperature. I think that is a major breakthrough.
That clearly establishes the link between policy and scientific assessment therefore tomorrow if the scientific assessment indicates that maybe 2 degree is far too much then we should limit temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius as indeed many of the small states.
Q: Like Maldives?
A: Exactly. This is something on which I have also said something in support purely as a human being not the Chairman of the IPCC. I think this is a major step forward.
Also the fact that the developed countries are talking about providing around USD 30 billion as assistance in the period 2010 to 2012, I think that is clearly a positive step forward.
Q: You worked in this area for over 20 years now as part of TERI and then concurrently as part of the IPCC – what does it entail to achieve global security even as you are balancing national sovereign interest?
A: That is also an issue of perceptions because I would say in a large number of areas there is clear congruence between global good and national good. I personally feel the world should be learning from India and we should be setting the lead because we cannot possibly continue on this path.
Q: So the statement that the Minister of Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh made of India’s voluntary reduction of carbon emission 20-25% I think by 2020, so you are saying that is a step in the right direction?
A: Absolutely and that is something we can achieve. We should achieve and which would really take us to a much more sustainable form of economic development than what we have been pursuing in the past.
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