According to reports, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia today sought to allay suspicions on the purpose behind the two-day meeting of energy ministers of 23 nations starting here on 17 April, popularly called the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) 2013. The participating nations would share ideas and possibilities for technology exchange to fastrack global efforts to cut carbon emissions in the fourth meeting of the CEM to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday.
Responding to a question on whether the CEM, originally a United States (US)-initiative, would undermine the ongoing discussions in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as the US refuses to ratify Kyoto Protocol under the UNFCCC, Ahluwalia said, “The proposition that CEM is designed to undermine UNFCCC is wrong because CEM is not a negotiation forum. It would be exceptionally foolish to take that position.”
He further clarified that India is not going to take any obligation on cutting emissions on any forum which is not a globally acknowledged platform for negotiations. The UNFCCC was designed with two key objectives – seeking binding commitments on emissions from nations and funds to be channelized for clean energy initiatives. Ahluwalia said the CEM has none of the two objectives.
Planning commission member (Energy) B K Chaturvedi, who was also addressing the media, said that the areas of discussion and information exchange likely to come up during the CEM include technologies for battery-operated motor vehicles, smart power transmission grids, solar photo-voltaic (PV) panels, wind energy generation and energy efficient appliances. “Overall, discussion will take place around 12 verticals. China, for instance, has developed technologies in electric vehicles which we can benefit from,” he said, adding that CEM will not discuss issues of duties and taxes and other bilateral trade-related issues.
CEM has its genesis in a December 2009 announcement by US energy secretary Steven Chu at the UNFCCC conference that he would host the first ministerial meet to facilitate dialogue between the world’s major economies and a few smaller countries on the common agenda of technology exchange in the clean energy space. The first CEM was held in Washington DC, followed by Abu Dhabi and London. India is hosting the meet for the first time.
The 23 participating nations in the CEM include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, US, UK, France and Germany. These nations account for 80% of the global greenhouse gas emissions and 90% of global clean energy investment. Responding to a question on what came out of the last three ministerial meets, Chaturvedi said no stock-taking has been done of the progress of initiatives taken the last three meets.