Welcome to the Archives

Shimla Declaration on Climate Justice

Kalibari, Shimla, 30th October, 2009.

We the constituents of the nation-wide Climate Justice movements in India, on behalf of the billion-strong deprived, under-consuming people of India, demand from our democratically elected government, the following principles to be followed in the international climate negotiations in Bercelona and Copenhagen (and beyond, as it now seem likely).

India must stand firmly for any position that calls for legally binding emission cuts by the historical large polluting countries, as per Kyoto Protocol. We note with great alarm the recent attempts of many large developed countries to jettison the Kyoto Protocol after 2012, and enter into a regime of ‘voluntary’, ‘national legislation-driven’, ‘bi-lateral agreement based’ emission cuts. We also regret the reported moves by India’s Environment Ministry to align with the historically by-far-the-largest Green House Polluter – the United States of America.

  1. Our Government, in the true spirit of being the trustee of 1.14 billion Indian people, must stand united with other developing countries, G77, and more specifically, the most threatened people & nations – the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and the Small Island States (AOSIS). Again, we are greatly concerned by reported moves from some quarters of our government to stand apart from the time l, tested G77 grouping in the hope of any ‘reward’ of a ‘global high seat’ – dangled by the rich countries, who are the Climate Culprits.
  2. We must support the Bolivian proposal of full climate /ecological debt payment as a legally binding obligation by the historical polluters to the historical under-consuming countries, among which is ours. This Debt must include, as proposed, both the historical emission debt, because the rich nations have forcibly occupied our emission /development space, and the adaptation debt as the poor nations are bearing & will have to bear a larger share of the climate impacts, without having the wherewithal to cope with these new crises.
  3. The Indian Government must bring into its climate negotiating position the enormous amounts of strife & hardship already faced by its poor, and amend its position from that articulated & demanded by its ruling elite;
  4. Any market driven false solution(s), like CDMs, Offsets, REDD etc, are shown to be causing more damage than good, particularly for the disadvantaged in India & elsewhere, and the govt. must firm-up its negotiating position in rejecting these market measures as climate solutions.
  5. We must firmly insist on Mitigation First, demanding quick & large cuts in GHG emissions from the developed countries with legal recourse for failure to do so, and proper empowered monitoring mechanisms.
  6. Based on the latest science, the Indian State must revise downward its own calculations of max. possible atmospheric carbon, and demand suitably larger cuts from the high-emitters – historic & present. The consistent & long-standing demand of 40% GHG emission cuts by the high-polluting Annex 1 countries, from their 1990 emission levels, should not only be strengthened, but improved upon, if we are to save the earth’s life support systems as we know these. The longer term goal of 80% emission cuts by annex 1 countries must also be strongly pursued – supported by emission capping & reducing trajectories by large developing countries like India, China, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa etc.
  7. We must firmly move away from the false hopes of destructive technology driven energy ‘solutions’, like so-called clean coal, nuclear (fission), large-scale bio-fuel plantations etc — with the understanding that these only dis-empowers and pauperize the already marginalized people in our countries.
  8. We regret the condemnable statement by our Prime Minister that our per capita emissions will never exceed the per capita emissions of developed countries. In the land of Mahatma Gandhi, we cannot appreciate support a prime minister condoning standards to commit crimes – we do it too, but not more so than the climate criminals! India must take true moral leadership in the struggle for climate justice & equity and declare that —

“we will provide all our citizens with energy and life-sustaining support for all their needs for dignified lives, BUT we will never exceed the per capita emission, which is our fair share from the global common atmosphere and is dictated by Mother Earth herself, by the capacity of its carbon (and other) cycle(s) to handle safely, without threatening the earth itself, while ensuring that all other living beings on this earth – human & otherwise – get their fair share too”.

The Indian Government, in keeping with the ideals of this great country, must take moral and dynamic leadership in order to bring focus to the questions of Justice and Equity in all their dimensions, transcending barriers of nations, generations and species – into the centre-stage of Climate Negotiations.

Himalaya Niti Abhiyaan

Peoples Movement from the Western Himalayan states of HP, J&K and Uttarakhand.