DURBAN, Dec 5 � India and European Union seem to be on a collision course with New Delhi saying that it will only stick to its voluntary domestic pledge on carbon emission cuts even as the 27-member block insists the stand is not acceptable, reports PTI.
As Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan landed in Durban for the climate talks, the European Union said that it had not called India a deal breaker but made it clear that it expected New Delhi to take on carbon emission cuts under a legally-binding treaty.
The second week started today with major issues like the future of the Kyoto Protocol and the design of the annual USD 100-billion Green Climate Fund remaining unresolved.
The EU wants all countries to be bound under a legally binding treaty, which will require �major emitters� like India to accept carbon emission cuts.
�We have not called India anything like that�, said Connie Hedegaard, the EU commissioner.
�However we need reassurance that if we lay down a bridge to the future then some others will follow us...Not now...We understand that...But soon�, she told reporters.
India has said that it�s a �major economy� but not a �major emitter� and New Delhi has maintained that eradicating poverty remains its top priority.
For now, India has said that it will only stick to its voluntary domestic pledge that can be subjected to international monitoring.
Hedegaard, however, said that voluntary pledges are not acceptable.
�It must be so that whether you are big or small country, whether you are rich or not so rich�whatever each of us pledge must have the same kind of legal value,� she said.
Hedegaard also said �timelines� are necessary.
The US and India, for their respective reasons, are resisting putting down any future obligations into a legal format.
The US is also pushing for voluntary pledges to reduce emissions. They prefer a political commitment instead of a legally binding instrument.
On the other side, the EU is proposing a new track of negotiations that will place all countries under one legally binding treaty, which the block wants to negotiate by 2015 so that it can come into force by 2020.
This is viewed by developing countries as a complete abandonment of the current negotiating tracks that have been agreed to by the governments in the past decade.
Hedegaard also said that in a meeting later today with China, the EU would seek clarifications from Beijing about recent signals that Beijing maybe ready to enhance its commitments.
Till now, the alliance of emerging economies � India, China, Brazil and South Africa � have stood firm against accepting international commitments on mitigation action.
Despite the speculation on China�s mood, India insists that the alliance is still unified.
�We will try to go into some more details about the recent signal from China�, said Hedegaard.
�The key question to China is whether a legally binding deal also mean China is equally legally bound...That is what still needs a lot of clarification�.
Under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, 37 developed countries have been placed under international legal obligations to reduce carbon emissions during a first commitment period, which expires next year.
Some countries like Japan and Canada are withdrawing from the treaty citing it ineffective because it leaves out the bulk of carbon emission produced by China, India and the US.
The EU is willing to sign up for a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol if emerging economies also agree to take binding carbon emissions cuts in the future.
�We are ready to commit to a second commitment period even though the family of countries who are ready to do so is shrinking�, said Heddegard.