U.S. domestic policy on curbing carbon emissions is crucial for a global climate deal this year, a top Indian negotiator said on Monday, adding rich countries also had to provide a commitment on funding for poorer nations.
Dinesh Patnaik said there was a good chance of success at a negotiating session in Germany starting this week as part of efforts to seal a new climate pact in Copenhagen in December.
Each one is hearing the other side so it is not a dialogue of the deaf in that sense, but the real dialogue where you start talking to each other. That will start now, Patnaik told Reuters ahead of the June 1-12 meeting in Bonn.
I am very optimistic. If we can narrow it down to 10 percent differences, 90 percent agreement, it is a huge success.
Patnaik said optimism for a global deal also springs from actions by the United States, including domestic legislation to lower emissions.
President Obama is doing it, he has done the tailpipe standards, he has started putting in legislation for a cap-and-trade scheme.
Strong U.S. domestic legislation would further strengthen Washington's international climate commitments, he added.
Of course the subtext is if there is no (U.S.) domestic legislation there will be no deal at Copenhagen.
Delegates from nearly 200 countries will meet in Copenhagen in December to try to agree on a broader climate pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol, whose first phase ends in 2012.
China and India want the rich to cut emissions from factories, power plants and cars by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, saying rich nations are responsible for the bulk of the excess greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere.
CALL FOR CLIMATE BILLIONS
As part of the build-up to Copenhagen, the United Nations is hosting a series of major meetings to try to reach agreement on myriad issues.
Delegates meeting in Bonn are seeking progress on ways to raise billions of dollars to help poor nations cope with global warming as well as a mechanism to transfer clean energy technology.
The Bonn talks between senior officials will also be the first to review formal draft texts of the Copenhagen deal.
Among the proposals on the table is raising cash from all nations, based on factors such as their historic and present emissions and gross domestic product. That would make the United States and Europe the top contributors.
Cash would go to projects, including wind or solar power or to protecting forests, as part of the global deal meant to prevent ever more heatwaves, floods, disease, species extinctions and rising sea levels.
Patnaik said what was more important than agreeing on the volume of funding was a guaranteed delivery mechanism on the basis of which developing countries could plan their mitigation and adaptation actions.
We want an agreement where people actually agree to deliver, he said. So whether you have 1 percent (of the GDP of a country) or 0.7 percent or 0.5 percent or 0.3 percent, let's have a predictable flow so that everybody knows that this is the money that is going to come into the system.
India is the world's fourth largest polluter behind China, the United States and Russia. The government refuses to commit to any emissions targets, saying this would hamper economic growth and plans to alleviate poverty in the nation of 1.1 billion people.
Instead, it says its domestic climate plan focuses on renewable energy for sustainable development as well as energy efficiency programs, although coal will remain a central and growing source of energy to power its economy.
(Editing by David Fogarty)