EU climate chief says greater responsibility on rich nations

New Delhi: Agreeing that the historic responsibility of climate change mitigation is more on advanced economies, EU’s climate policy chief Frans Timmermans said on Thursday that the climate crisis transcends any political and economic difference that India and EU might have.

European Commission executive vice president for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans was speaking at the CII Annual Session 2023. “Of course, we have different starting positions, of course, the historic responsibility on those economies who have been burning fossil fuels for 200 years is bigger than those who came to the party later. But at the end of day, if we don’t act collectively, we will fail collectively,» he said.

This comes amid criticism among Indian policy makers that a number of legislation brought by the European Union (EU) such as Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism is not fair to the developing world and seeks to penalize even as developed countries such as US and EU are historically responsible for climate change.

Talking about the importance of carbon pricing, he said that the global community will come to have a comprehensible, understandable system of pricing carbon if it wants to decarbonize. And you need to create a system that is stable over a longer period of time. That is the success of the emissions trading system that we have. It’s now being copied by China. India is also thinking of a system of emissions.»

Timmermans cautioned against protectionist moves while looking for ways to address climate change. “It’s a market economy based model. I am always amazed at those who say that the inventor of the market economy has not adopted that model yet. I hope we can convince the Americans to put a clear price on carbon that will allow them to plan over a longer period of time,» he added

He feared that the only thing Europe is worried about is that the US is creating a system which would be protectionist that would slow down global economic growth. “It would create a competition effect because then we would start if they don’t let our electric vehicle (EVs) on the market, we will have to respond the same way. So in our discussions with the Americans, it’s always directed towards avoiding the trap with protectionism,» he added.

The US recently passed the Inflation Reduction Act, a $369 billion dollar spending package to eliminate carbon emissions which is facing criticism because of the protectionist nature of certain provisions allowing subsidies for vehicle electrification.

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