The international climate conference taking place in Paris has an unenviable mandate. All 196 nations have to agree on a way to reduce global warming. It is like expecting everyone in Delhi to come to a consensus on the best way to reduce air pollution. Compromises are inevitable; in the end, everyone wins some by losing some.
But nearly 10 days into the Paris climate conference, known as COP-21, India has not had the luxury of winning, only the misfortune of losing.
Separating the signal from all the noise surrounding COP-21, it is apparent that so far nothing has worked in its favour. Less than 4 days are left for the negotiations to finish. Has India lost the plot at Paris?
The battle lines were drawn before the Paris summit itself. Most of these were based on the draft treaty document, which was prepared before the summit by a working group (known as ADP). Already India had openly disagreed with the United States over many of these issues.
There are 4 principal issues at stake.
What India wants:
Finance: To make developed countries commit to giving finance and cheap technologies that both reduce global warming and help deal with its effects. India wants to resist the developed nations' proposal to make advanced developing nations like India and China pay (rather than receive) climate finance;
Despite negotiations reaching advanced stages, India has almost no success in getting any of these demands through.
The ADP has worked since 2011 to prepare the draft treaty for Paris. It was initially tilted in favour of developed countries. Developing countries fought hard to bring some balance into it before it was introduced at the Paris summit.
Last week, negotiators from all countries worked further on the draft and made several corrections.
It was finalised on last Saturday, and the "final" draft is being debated by environment ministers this week. It will eventually be signed into a treaty this Friday, 11 December.
Let us return to the four things India wanted in Paris, and how there is no progress on each one of them:
What India wanted in Paris as opposed to what happened:
Finance: The "umbrella group" led by the United States has asked developing countries, including India, to pay for climate finance. The US has always held this position and so far India hasn't been able to change its opinion. At this rate it will be a success if India walks away without having to pay for finance, forget receiving it.
As ministers debate the draft agreement, anything can change in the days leading up to 11 December. But the picture doesn't appear to be too rosy given the number of issues left unresolved in the draft agreement, and the rhetoric surrounding the summit since.
At the inauguration of the conference, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech was one of the strongest among world leaders; will the summit's ending see the Indian side bend and crawl?