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Home News Power Sector News National Climate Change Mitigation Authority would be set up soon

National Climate Change Mitigation Authority would be set up soon

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Go GreenCentral Government is considering a concept note to create a National Climate Change Mitigation Authority that would oversee an act that sets up aspirational climate-related targets for the country to achieve by 2020. The move will help ward off the charge that India is obstructionist on climate change. The note prepared by the environment ministry suggests that the authority be chaired by the Prime Minister and set targets for actions that would bring about benefits of reduced greenhouse gas emissions. It is understood that the PMO is amenable to the proposal.

Environment minister Jairam Ramesh requested the PMO to hold a meeting of concerned officials to take the process further as it would involve other ministries and agencies of government. Sources indicated government could move fast on the proposal. Several `actions' the concept note recommends be quantified and listed in the proposed legislation already form part of the National Action Plan on Climate Change.

The concept note recommends targets for energy efficiency as well as increase in solar power capacity which have already been approved in principle by the PM and the PM's climate chance council. The note recommends targets for increase in organic cultivation to reduce methane emissions (also a GHG), better efficiency of coal plants, mandatory energy building codes for public buildings and mileage-based fuel efficiency norms for automotives.

The note does not suggest binding emission targets for India but for the first time desires an umbrella act to bring all actions under the supervision and management of one overarching body. The proposed legislation was only to guide unilateral actions on energy security and mitigation cleared by Parliament and would be undertaken regardless of what happens at the international negotiations.

The environment minister in the note has suggested that the legislation be drawn along the lines of the FRBM Act, which is not binding on the government but sets indicative targets to control budget deficit. At present, the energy efficiency measures are undertaken under the Energy Conservation Act, 2001. The PM has already given the go ahead to amend the ECA, 2001, to facilitate trading in energy efficiency savings by energy-intensive industries such as steel, textiles and railways.

The move to bring a legislation to anchor domestic mitigation actions is bound to also serve well at international negotiations where the industrialized countries have been trying to paint India as obstructionist and unwilling to take action.

The government proposal also comes at a time when the other key player in the climate negotiations, US, is finding it difficult to pass its domestic legislation on climate change. The legislation though asking for extremely small emission cuts of its economy in the mid-term has got bogged down with the US Senate and the Indian officials perceive would not be in place before the crucial negotiations in December.

While there is tremendous pressure to seal a deal at Copenhagen in December, the US negotiators are bound to find their hands tied and unable to show any real commitment if the legislators back home don't pass the bill in time, which is increasingly looking improbable.

The move by the Indian government to show political commitment on mitigation is bound to counter any attempts to put the blame of a possibly failed or partial deal at Copenhagen on India or other developing countries.

Source - Times of India

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