Copenhagen accord an attempt to jettison the Kyoto Protocol and Bali Action Plan

Insisting that the Copenhagen accord was reached to the satisfaction of all concerned, government today told the Rajya Sabha that the provision for "international consultation and analysis" will in no way affect India's sovereignty.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said a major achievement was that it was a "non-legally binding" accord and negotiations would continue under the Kyoto Protocol and Bali Action Plan to be completed at the end of 2010.

"... The Copenhagen accord was clinched to the satisfaction of all concerned," he told the House informing about the outcome of the 15th Conference of Parties on climate change which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attended.

Ramesh said India, China, Brazil and South Africa, the BASIC group of emerging economies, were able to get agreement on their proposals on global goals and on monitoring and verification.

"It (BASIC) was also able to ensure that the Copenhagen accord was not legally binding and that there was no mention of a new legally binding instrument in the accord," he said.

He noted that the accord had the provision of reporting to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) about supported and unsupported mitigation actions every two years through national communications and a provision for "international consultation and analysis".

Contending that the guidelines for such consultation and analysis will be "devised and defined" in due course, Ramesh said, "We have been able to incorporate a specific provision that these clearly defined guidelines will ensure that the national sovereignty is respected."

The opposition was dissatisfied with the suo-motu statement made by Ramesh, and slammed the Accord as "disappointing", "a compromise document" and "an attempt to jettison the Kyoto Protocol and Bali Action Plan".

Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley equated the Copenhagen accord to the Sharm-el-Sheikh joint statement between India and Pakistan and said that the government was trying to interpret the agreement differently by engaging in spin doctoring.

He questioned the mention of peaking of emissions in the accord as well as the provision for reporting which he felt would bind India and consequences would not be good.

Calling the Copenhagen accord a "compromise document", CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said "we have opened up windows for the possible jettisoning of the Kyoto Protocol".

CPI's D Raja described the accord as a "disappointment" and "no step forward and several steps backward".

Seeking to allay any apprehensions on the accord, Ramesh said that whatever he had said regarding respecting of sovereignty was not an "empty boast" but the was "actual text" of the Accord.

Ramesh said that he had been "very upfront about how our thinking on climate change has to evolve and not remain frozen in time".

"Copenhagen is not a destination but the beginning of a long process. There are indeed many risks, many hazards, many threats. We have to be extraordinarily vigilant and careful, negotiating tough but always from a position of strength," Ramesh said.