India could raise WTO ruling at UN while signing COP 21 deal

New Delhi, April 19 (IANS) Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, who will be leaving for New York to ratify the Paris ‘COP 21 Global Climate Agreement’, on Tuesday hinted that India could raise the issue of the WTO ruling against the Indian Domestic Solar Mission.

“We are giving space to our local manufacturers here and the ruling would affect them. We would take it up,” Javadekar said here after releasing a document titled “India’s action on climate change after the Paris agreement”.

He, however, said officials from the ministry of commerce and industry will be the ones who would decide and take the final call on the WTO issue.

Javadekar said that India along with over 130 countries, would ratify the Paris agreement at a high level signing ceremony at the UN headquarters in New York on April 22. He will be leaving for the UN on Wednesday and will also attend the Major Economies Forum on April 23 and 24.

The minister on April 7, along with Brazil, South Africa, India and China, had welcomed the adoption of the Paris agreement on climate change — the 21st Conference of Parties (COP-21) — in December last year.

China, which is eyeing the Indian solar market, had extended its support to New Delhi against the WTO ruling.

The WTO on February 24 ruled against India’s ‘Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission’ on the plea that New Delhi’s efforts towards the indigenous production of solar cells violated WTO rules. The ruling came on a 2013 complaint filed by the US.

The US had said India violated domestic content requirements (DCR) rules. India appealed against the WTO ruling, claiming its compliance with laws required to promote sustainable development.

India also argued that its solar programme was helping it to meet its commitments under the UNFCCC.

India’s solar energy programme is considered one of the world’s largest and fastest renewable energy programmes. The country had also scaled up its target to produce solar energy by pushing ahead the 20,000 megawatts of solar electricity generation to 1 lakh megawatts by 2022.

Meanwhile, Javadekar also called upon the developed nations to declare their enhanced action plan for the second period of the Kyoto Protocol and mobilising $100 billion towards climate change.

“We have levied a clean environment cess of $6 per tonne on coal. If the developed world follows India in taxing its coal production, $100 billion can be raised,” he said.

He also said the developed world must provide technological support to the developing nations in the fight against climate change.

In the UN climate change conference COP 21 in Paris, 195 countries adopted the first universal, legally binding global climate deal. The agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. The agreement is due to enter into force in 2020.

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