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Cablegate: India to Communicate Mitigation Actions Following

VZCZCXRO0273
OO RUEHDH RUEHHM RUEHPB RUEHSL RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNE #0154/01 0281152
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 281152Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9270
INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 8211
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA PRIORITY 0766

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NEW DELHI 000154

SIPDIS

FOR SECC, OES/PCI AND OES/EGC

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/25/2020
TAGS: SENV KGHG TRGY ECON PREL IN
SUBJECT: INDIA TO COMMUNICATE MITIGATION ACTIONS FOLLOWING
UNFCCC CLARIFICATION
Classified By: Blair Hall, EEST Minister-Counselor. Reasons: 1.5(b) and
(d)

1. (SBU) SUMMARY In a wide-ranging discussion following the
climate change meeting of the BASIC (Brazil, South Africa,
India and China) ministerial group, Indian Minister of
Environment and Forests (MOEF) Jairam Ramesh told the
Ambassador January 25 that India is ready to communicate its
voluntary domestic mitigation efforts to the UNFCCC "within
about two hours." However, Ramesh claimed, recent letters
from the UN Secretary General and the Danish Prime Minister
had muddied the water by implying these might be considered
legally binding commitments. The BASIC parties therefore are
awaiting clarification from the UNFCCC that the submissions
are considered voluntary. If this is received prior to
Janury 31, India will communicate its actions by that date.
He emphasized that the BASIC countries view the two-track
approach under Kyoto Protocol and the Bali Roadmap as the
central processes, not the Copenhagen Accord.
END SUMMARY

2. (C) Ambassador Roemer called on Environment Minister
Jairam Ramesh January 25 for a wide-ranging discussion of
climate change issues, including clean and renewable energy
cooperation, as well as wildlife conservation, forestry and
environmental governance matters (reported separately).
Providing an overview of discussions at the BASIC meeting the
previous day, Ramesh stated that all four ministers
reiterated support for the Copenhagen Accord. He emphasized
that support is based on the position that the Accord
represents a high-level political understanding among the
parties and is not considered a legally binding document.
Ramesh acknowledged that the BASIC participants had differing
perspectives on the imperative to provide information on
their mitigation actions. He noted that China, acting with
great confidence, "is completely indifferent to the Europeans
and does not appear at all uncomfortable about the prospect
of a challenge to the United States." Nonetheless, parties
agreed to communicate mitigation actions to UNFCCC.

3. (SBU) Ramesh stated that India is ready to "carry its
domestic commitments forward" and could send its mitigation
actions to the UNFCCC "within about two hours." He claimed
that letters from UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and Danish
PM Rasmussen early this month had "muddied the waters."
Ramesh said these communications could be read to imply that
the submissions under the Accord were legally binding and
that the Accord might be seen as superceding the two-track
negotiating process laid out under the Kyoto Protocol and
Bali Roadmap. Prime Minister Singh had replied in a January
18 letter seeking clarification. Ramesh said he himself did
not necessarily read the letters this way but, nonetheless,
they had opened questions that the Prime Minister felt must
be answered before the Government of India could proceed.
Ramesh said he expects a clarification from the UNFCCC, and
had spoken to Yvo de Boer about it. If this clarification
comes before January 31, India will submit information on its
mitigation actions by the deadline.

4. (SBU) Ramesh said that the time table currently proposed
is too slow for convening working groups in preparation for
COP-16 in Mexico City. He said that the BASIC countries
strongly believe that the first working group meetings on
long-term cooperative actions and on Kyoto Annex I emissions
reductions should meet in March and meet regularly thereafter
leading up to the December meeting.

5. (U) The Ambassador expressed appreciation for the
elements of the BASIC Joint Statement reaffirming support for
the Copenhagen Accord and reiterating an intention to
communicate mitigation actions by January 31. He affirmed
the President´s commitment to the Accord as reached with the
leaders of the BASIC countries and restated the United
States´ intention to soon inscribe its emissions reductions
target. The Ambassador and Ramesh agreed that continuing
cooperation between the United States and India on clean and
renewable energy is important to reducing GHG emissions.
Ramesh welcomed the proposal for increased research and
deployment of wind, solar, biomass and other technologies and
said that he is eager to implement greater cooperation on
civil nuclear energy. Mentioning an upcoming visit by the
CEO of Duke Power, Ramesh said the GOI also would welcome
more cooperation with the U.S. on cleaner coal technologies,
including coal gasification, super critical facilities and
carbon capture and sequestration. The Ambassador took the
opportunity to remind Ramesh of the importance of rapid
completion the legacy civil nuclear issues, including the
reprocessing agreement, liability legislation and Part 810
licensing agreements. Noting that 1 million new motor
vehicles were purchased in India in 2009 and that the number
could rise to 10 million cars per year by 2016, Ramesh said
he is particularly concerned about increasing energy demand
and emissions coming from the transportation sector. The
Ambassador offered that the United States would be willing to
share its experience on regulating fuel quality standards and
improving automotive fuel efficiency standards.
ROEMER

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