The environmental consciousness of mankind in the 21st century has inspired the international community to seal a consensual deal on taking measures to confront climate change and wished that such measures would bear fruit. However, the greatest challenge in this effort is to bring all parties together as although they agree to the urgency of curbing emissions, they contested over the sharing of the 'global common property resource, the atmosphere'.
India has a significant presence in this global environmental politics. Her official position in various international negotiations is guided by the principle of 'Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities'(CBDR&RC) of the UNFCCC/Kyoto process. However, in the post Kyoto framework, the developed countries tried to remove the difference in the climate responsibilities between them and the developing world. Specially intense pressure was piled on emerging economies like India and China to take more obligations on mitigation actions and to follow a clean growth trajectory.
Against such a backdrop, since the Copenhagen summit of 2009, the world has witnessed a transformation in India's role on the negotiating table from being a mere silent spectator to being a leading voice from the developing world. Before Copenhagen, she made unilateral and voluntary announcement that her per capita GHG emissions would never exceed that of the developed world. This proactive attitude was also evident in the then Environment Minister Jayram Ramesh's words when he announced in Parliament just before Copenhagen summit that India would voluntarily reduce the ‘emissions intensity’ of its GDP by 20-25 per cent by 2020 compared to its 2005 level through domestic mitigation actions1. At Doha, where the Kyoto protocol managed to survive as countries agreed on the second commitment period of the Kyoto protocol (2013-2020), India had shown greater enthusiasm as well but at the same time reiterated her firm commitment to CBDR.
Basically the principal objective of developing countries in general and India in particular in all climate negotiations, has been to defend the differentiated architecture of the climate regime. The Warsaw climate summit of November, 2013, has proved that trend once again. It was expected that it would provide a preparatory stage for the Paris Conference of Parties in 2015, when a global deal on climate change is expected to be signed, but it took the global community only an inch forward in the fight against climate change. In this summit India once again underscored the significance of historical emissions as one of the crucial parameters in deciding the emission reduction responsibilities of countries under the 2015 agreement. In the run up to the Warsaw summit she agreed that the global agreement should be along the bottom-up approach, that is, each country would volunteer...