CANCUN: India on Thursday offered an olive branch in climate change negotiations, saying for the first time that it would consider entering a legally binding international agreement.
But Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh stressed that India was not ready to be part of a binding treaty right now as it does not know how an agreement would take shape.
"All countries must take binding commitments under an appropriate legal form," Ramesh told AFP as diplomacy intensified on the second to final day of UN-climate talks in Cancun, Mexico.
"India does not believe that it is ready to enter in a legally binding agreement at this stage because we don`t know what the content of this agreement is, we do not understand what the penalty of non-compliance is, we don`t understand what the monitoring system of the legally binding agreement is," he said.
"So let`s wait. Let us talk about it," he said.
The United States, European Union and Japan have pressed India and China to make binding commitments to cut carbon emissions blamed for climate change.
The emerging Asian economies have long resisted such calls, saying that wealthy countries bear historic responsibility for climate change.
India, however, has pledged that its carbon emissions will never surpass those of today`s developed countries.
In late 2009, India announced a plan to reduce the growth of its carbon emissions. India said it would cut emissions per unit of GDP by 20 to 25 percent by 2020 compared with 2005.
China, which has much higher emission levels than India, has pledged to cut carbon output by unit of GDP by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels.
Wealthy nations, by contrast, have pledged to cut carbon emissions in absolute terms.
BDST: 1040 HRS, December 10, 2010