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Policy un-wise: India lacks coherent Climate change policy

By Paromita Pain - 30 Nov 2010 9:30:0 GMT
Policy un-wise: India lacks coherent Climate change policy

The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, inaugurated on November 29, 2010, has India as an active participant. The Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012 and with it the first emission reduction commitments signed. While experts say the conference isn't expected to yield much by way of new agreements, questions are being raised about the Indian government's take on national climate control policies.

A public awareness campaign titled Climate Revolution Initiative that works to transform the social and political ethos on climate change in India, says, that answers given by the Prime Minister's office show a complete lack of coherent policy or governmental preparedness regarding climate change in the country.

Led by Manu Sharma, an activist and renewable energy expert, Climate Revolution Initiative uses the Right to Information (RTI) Act and media disclosures as key tools to bring about shifts in public consciousness regarding the threat of climate change and about the government's unsustainable developmental pathway.

On the basis of 125 RTI (Right to information) queries, the campaign has revealed that the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) that play a key role in determining national take on India's climate change policy, could not produce any strategy document ensuring the country's adherence  to emissions reduction commitments.

Obscure policy process

Manu Sharma charges that "the RTI replies reveal a government ignorant of the state of climate science; unwilling to act as science demands; unconcerned about public safety; unable to determine the right developmental priorities; and, ill-prepared to defend its own claims."

Besides having no process to monitor climate change and not recognising the urgency of the issue, the Climate Revolution Initiative also states that the PMO and MoEF are not making useful information public.

An RTI filing for information on the climate policy formation process for international climate negotiations was denied. RTI applications seeking copies of briefs given to Indian negotiators at international climate negotiations, and reports submitted by them to the PMO, were rejected by the government on the grounds that the disclosures "may affect the scientific and economic interests of the country".

Image: COP16/CMP6 Cancun, Mexico

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