India @ the Durban Climate talks
The Durban climate talks finally ended more than 36 hours after the scheduled close on Sunday with the world agreeing to a new global climate change regime that will come into force from 2020. India took centrestage as a force to reckon with and regained its position as the leader and moral voice of the developing world even as the EU and the US were forced to address its demands. The principle of equity found its place back on the table and life was infused into the Kyoto Protocol, which will continue to be in force beyond 2012. Beginning next year, the 195 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will start negotiating a new global regime that will be finalized by 2015 and become operational from 2020. The decision cameafter the EU was forced to go into a huddle with India in the wee hours of Sunday, when talks seemed at the brink of collapse, and address its concerns even as the developing world, including China, backed India on its demand for an equitable future deal. India had gone to Durban with two major demands—that the principle of equity remain intact in any new climate regime and that this new global deal be launched after 2020. The EU had demanded that equity be set aside and the world kickstart a new deal from 2015 with all countries, regardless of their historical responsibilities, be forced to take legally binding obligations. Ultimately, India achieved its objectives with environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan becoming the voice and leader of the developing world, gaining unflinching support from its ally China and the respect of many other developing countries in the G77+China group. Countries like Pakistan, Philippines and Egypt came out in support, demanding a more equitable deal that would secure the development space for poorer nations even as their obligations under the new regime increase after 2020. Showing leadership and flexibility, India agreed to phrases for a final decision that ensured that the world could transit to a new regime post 2020 but not be locked into commitments that have not even been tabled so far.