Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Climate experts put EU case to India on emissions trading

Top European Union experts on climate change briefed Indian scientists near Berlin Tuesday on an ambitious programme to "trade" carbon-dioxide emissions round the globe so as to cut the overall pollution level.

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, a leading German scientist who works from Potsdam, argued that India would be a beneficiary for decades on end from a fair scheme, since it could earn income by selling the valuable rights.

"But if nations like India or China simply copy the development pattern of Europe, the world will end up with an utterly different climate," Schellnhuber warned after the talks, attended by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

The Indian energy and climate experts travelled to Potsdam, near Berlin to hear more about the EU proposals. Barroso and scientists had a similar meeting in April in Beijing with Chinese scientists.

In carbon trading, rights to pollute are fairly distributed round the world. By freely buying and selling the rights internationally, those who cut emissions obtain a reward by selling their rights, whereas polluters feel the pain financially.

Schellnhuber admitted that factories in India or China, which refused to use modern low-carbon technology, would lose out.

"Companies that refuse to read the signs of the times will end up the losers," said Schellnhuber, who heads the Potsdam Institute for Climate-Impact Research PIK.

After the meeting Barroso opened a two-day meeting organized by PIK and the group Action for a Global Climate Community on ways for India to achieve sustainable economic development that brings prosperity without damaging the climate.


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