Siddharth Varadarajan

Journalist | Writer | Analyst

Shyam Saran quits in changed policy climate

Whatever the trigger, Mr. Saran is the second high-profile climate negotiator to exit the stage after crossing swords with the United States…

20 February 2010
The Hindu

Shyam Saran quits in changed policy climate

Siddharth Varadarajan

New Delhi: Rumours of his unhappiness and impending departure had been swirling around the Capital even before last December’s Copenhagen summit but Shyam Saran finally decided to call it quits on Friday. The Special Envoy of the Prime Minister on Climate Change “has been permitted to demit office from Friday, March 14,” a terse announcement from the PMO said.

But behind the simplicity of the notice is a more complex story — about who gets to set India’s negotiating line on climate change at a time when there is enormous pressure on the country to give up its core positions on the issue.

Last year, the tussle between Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh and the SEPM virtually spilled out into the open with the leak of a letter written by Mr. Saran to the Prime Minister listing his misgivings about the direction the Minister seemed to be heading in. And he was not alone. C. Dasgupta and Prodipto Ghosh — retired officials who have specialised on the subject and who were part of the Indian negotiating team — also questioned the wisdom of some of Mr. Ramesh’s pronouncements, especially on accepting international monitoring and diluting the per capita norm. They only agreed to go to Copenhagen after the Minister reassured them there would be no dilution in India’s stand.

In the aftermath of the summit, the Prime Minister came under pressure to re-evaluate the role of the SEPM with some arguing that the Environment Minister should be given sole authority to decide India’s climate change strategy at the global level.

One of those who wrote to Manmohan Singh asking that Mr. Ramesh be given full charge was N. K. Singh, the Rajya Sabha M.P. Mr. Singh’s letter appreciated Mr. Saran’s negotiating skills but said the absence of symmetry was leading to confusion.

Whatever the trigger, Mr. Saran is the second high-profile climate negotiator to exit the stage after crossing swords with the United States. Last December, the Philippines government sacked its chief negotiator, Bernaditas Castro-Muller, in the run-up to the Copenhagen summit, a move civil society groups said was taken to please Washington.

Sources close to Mr. Saran said his reasons for resigning from the job, which had an open-ended tenure, were personal and had nothing to do with the politics of climate change policy.

Highly placed sources told The Hindu that although the Prime Minister was still to take a final call on the matter, the SEPM would not be replaced and his office will likely be shut down. One of the options is for the Environment Ministry to take full charge of India’s negotiating strategy on climate change. A senior official said Mr. Saran was brought in at a time when the Environment Ministry was headed by less articulate ministers and that with Mr. Ramesh at the helm now there was no need to have a special envoy.

At the same time, the fact that the climate change issue requires inter-agency consultations and has not just technical but political and strategic dimensions means there is a logic to the PMO remaining in overall control. One of the options, therefore, could be for National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon to be tasked with coordination.

Senior officials brushed aside suggestions in a section of the media that protocol issues might have played a role in the SEPM’s departure.

They said the Prime Minister had told Mr. Saran (and his special envoy on Pakistan, Satinder Lambah) last month that they would both have ‘Minister of State’ rank since Mr. Menon, their junior in the Indian Foreign Service, had MoS status as NSA.

As for Mr. Dasgupta and Mr. Ghosh who have sounded a contrarian note to Mr. Ramesh in the past, their services as negotiators will likely not be availed of in the future, officials said.

6 comments on “Shyam Saran quits in changed policy climate

  1. Anonymous
    February 28, 2010

    Mr Varadarajan
    Astute observations as always

    What is your opinion now that the SEPM has been set aside, but yet his apparent demands with regards to the 'scrutiny' issue has been modified into accepting 'consultations'?

    Shub Niggurath

  2. Anonymous
    February 23, 2010

    For a reference:

    2007 per-capita CO2 emissions from energy use, in tonnes per person:

    World 4.52
    China 4.75
    United States 19.94
    Russia 11.83
    India 1.25
    Japan 9.91
    Germany 10.13
    Canada 17.91
    UK 9.28
    S.Korea 10.69
    Iran 7.50
    Italy 7.92
    Australia 18.12
    Mexico 4.17
    South Africa 9.35

    Source: EIA. Dept. of Energy

    The “deal” that the West were pushing for in the final days of Copenhagen would have locked Chinese (as well as other developing countries) emission per capita to be much lower than the Western ones forever. Thus capping their devlopment forever. Good for them that they killed any such deal. Lets hope the too bribed to care are burnt if they give in to carbon FRAUD

  3. Anonymous
    February 23, 2010

    This might help explain the AGW bias of the EU, the Environment Agency, some Governments and some Universities.
    ?The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) is a forum for collaboration on climate change for European investors. The group?s objective is to catalyse greater investment in a low carbon economy by bringing investors together to use their collective influence with companies, policymakers and investors. The group currently has over 50 members, including some of the largest pension funds and asset managers in Europe, and represents assets of around ?4trillion. A full list of members is available on the membership page?.

    Did you catch that: FOUR TRILLION EUROS!

    IIGCC chairman and BBC head of pensions investment Peter Dunscombe said: ?The credibility of emissions trading schemes would be greatly improved with a robust price signal as well as clear and frequent communication from the regulator on trading data and improved transparency over direct government participation in schemes.?
    Catch that: ?IIGCC chairman and BBC head of pensions investment Peter Dunscombe??

    The BBC is the Chair of this Carbon Trading driven investment scheme!

    Members of the IIGCC include:

    Alfred Berg
    APG Investments
    Aviva Investors
    Baptist Union of Great Britain **
    BBC Pension Trust
    Bedfordshire Pension Fund
    BMS World Mission **
    BNP Paribas Asset Management
    BT Pension Scheme
    CB Richard Ellis Investors
    CCLA Investment Management
    Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church
    Climate Change Capital
    Corporation of London Pension Fund
    Cowen Asset Management
    DWS Investments
    Environment Agency Pension Fund
    Ethos Foundation
    F & C Management Ltd
    Generation Investment Management LLP
    Greater Manchester Pension Fund
    Henderson Global Investors
    Hg Capital
    HSBC Investments
    Impax Asset Management
    Insight Investment
    Invicta Capital
    Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust **
    Kent County Council
    London Borough of Hounslow Pension Fund
    London Borough of Islington Pension Fund
    London Borough of Newham Pension Fund
    London Pensions Fund Authority
    Merseyside Pension Fund
    Northern Trust
    PGGM Investments
    Roman Catholic Diocese of Plymouth **
    Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford **
    South Yorkshire Pensions Authority
    The Church Commissioners for England
    The Church in Wales **
    The Co-operative Asset Management
    The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth **
    United Reform Church **
    Universities Superannuation Scheme
    West Midlands Metropolitan Authorities Pension Fund
    West Yorkshire Pension Fund
    William Leech Charitable Trust **
    ** part of the Church Investors Group

    NEXT Sub-Prime housing type mega fraud ? CO2 Racket is times 100 and global …Where conned investors like pension funds along with Govts will he held hostage to Green Toxic Derivatives and TAX PAYERS of EVERY COUNTRY will be required to bail out. Al Gore, GoldMan Sachs, and EU rackitiers will be laughing his way to the bank.

  4. Anonymous
    February 23, 2010

    So now that housing a property have

    become a giant 'ponzi scheme' sub

    prime derivatives for many people,

    what next?

    Cap n Trade – Green derivatives !!

    Thanks and NO THANKS !

  5. Anonymous
    February 23, 2010

    “What failed at Copenhagen was not
    just the summit. A notion of establishing the UN as a
    sort of world government through
    the use of climate politics —
    using far-reaching management
    methods to influence, first of all, the world's economy — has also failed.”
    Die Welt -german news paper

    Carbon racked is a crime if hijack is a crime. EU etc ARE out to impliment controls over every carbon life form – man – no matter where they live. I MUST NOT BE ALLOWED.

  6. Mayurdas Bholanath
    February 21, 2010

    . . the Prime Minister had told Mr. Saran (and his special envoy on Pakistan, Satinder Lambah) last month that they would both have ‘Minister of State’ rank since Mr. Menon, their junior in the Indian Foreign Service, had MoS status as NSA.

    Would Mr. Saran have said “nothing more, nothing less” to this “deal” ?

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This entry was posted on February 20, 2010 by in Environment, Indian Politics.



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