Why Indian submission at Paris Climate Change Conference is unique

Our 38-page Intended Nationally Determined Contribution stands out among the 145 documents submitted so far.

 |  2-minute read |   30-11-2015
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While countries all around the world are submitting their intentions to arrive at a Climate Change agreement in Paris at COP 21, the 38-page Indian submission stands out among the 145 documents submitted so far.

Here are seven features that makes India's submission (known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) a truly unique document.

1. The Indian submission begins by quoting the Yajurveda, yoga and the ancient texts, while other countries give their civilisation and history a miss. China does not talk about its civilisation, Iran does not mention the Persian empire, and Egypt does not talk of Mesopotamia, but India begins its 2015 commitments by going back to its ancient texts. Though for once, the oft-repeated phrase "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam" (the world is one family) is missing.

2. The Indian submission quotes Mahatma Gandhi three times. The US does not quote Barack Obama, Canada does not quote its Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Australia does not name Malcolm Turnbull, Japan does not quote Shinzo Abe, China does not name Xi Jinping, but India quotes its Prime Minister Narendra Modi thrice in the document.

3. India adopts a verbose self-congratulatory tone in its document. Sample this: "The initiatives have demonstrated unparalleled vision and strong political initiatives of the Government." Further, "Under the leadership and vision of Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi……."

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4. The Swachh Bharat scheme is mentioned four times, although at no place, does the document say how this scheme is linked to reducing emissions.

5. At places, the Indian document sounds like an annual report of one of its ministries. For instance: "India aims to eliminate malaria by 2030." Perfect, but how it is related to reducing emissions? Similarly, the government will issue "Soil Health Cards" to every. Great, but the document fails to relate it to emission reductions.

6. Carbon dioxide and methane are not mentioned even once in the entire submission. It seems that all Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) are bundled under one phrase - "India plans to reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 (from 2005 levels)."

7. Finally, while the document talks of "vision," it sounds a note of warning as India seeks adequate international financing and technology transfer to control emissions. Seeking a predetermined contribution by developed countries, India says that without means of implementation and adequate resources, "the global vision (of climate change action) is but a vacant dream."

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Writer

Bajinder Pal Singh Bajinder Pal Singh

He is a journalist based in Thailand, who specialises in south and southeast Asia. His interests include science, environment and education, and their interface with media.

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