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[NEW DELHI)] India's minister for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh has ruled out the country's agreeing to specific targets for reducing carbon emissions.

"There is simply no case for the pressure that we [India] — who have among the lowest emissions per capita — face to reduce emissions," Ramesh told visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday (19 July).

"And as if this pressure was not enough, we also face the threat of carbon tariffs on our exports to countries such as yours," Ramesh said. These tariffs are charges levied on companies for the carbon dioxide they produce while manufacturing goods. 

Ramesh says that detailed modelling studies carried out in India show that even if gross domestic product grows by 8–9 per cent over the next two decades, India's emissions will be below that of developed countries.

He also said India sees "a critical role for international technology cooperation in enabling countries like India to adapt to climate change". India, in collaboration with the UN, will host an international meeting on climate change technology issues on 22–23 October, in New Delhi, which is expected to culminate in a statement for inclusion in any agreement to be reached in Copenhagen in December.

Although developing countries expect a concrete adaptation fund to be put in place in Copenhagen, developed countries have not yet committed themselves to any specific contributions, Tove Maria Ryding — a climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace Denmark and chair of a coalition of 92 nongovernmental organisations — told journalists from developing countries last month (June).

Technology transfer is being linked to how willing developing countries — especially Brazil China, India and South Africa — are to commit themselves to reducing emissions, she says.

A press release from India's environment ministry on 19 July says Ramesh suggests a three-pronged approach for India–US collaboration on climate change as a way forward. The first is to set up an India–US forum on climate change technology, with initial funds from the two governments to kickstart it. The two countries could engage in joint research in solar energy, biomass, clean coal, high-voltage power transmission, smart grids and wastewater utilisation, he suggests.  

The second is building institutional capacity for climate change research and its impacts, and the third is collaboration between the two countries on environmental planning, regulation and management.

India's future plans in this area include establishing a science-based national environmental protection authority and a national 'green tribunal' to serve as an environment court — a specialist court for environmental issues.

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