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"U.N. climate talks will "probably not" agree an ambitious deal this year unless the economy improves and voters press for action," said India's top climate official Shyam Saran.
"If the economic and financial crisis continues or even worsens during the coming year then the kind of ambitious response that the world expects is probably not going to happen," said India's special envoy on climate change, over the fringes of a business and policy summit in Davos.
"But if the situation improves ... if there is much more public opinion pressure on governments domestically ... that remains to be seen."
"The financial crisis has contributed to deadlock at last month's climate talks, by heightening concerns that climate laws would drive jobs overseas, for example to the developing world, if they faced less onerous targets," declared Saran.
"India may also consider a separate instrument, providing the United States agreed to make its targets binding, moreover than just a binding review of these targets which is a position that the United States preferred in Copenhagen" according to Saran.
That is the legal format of Kyoto, which applies carbon-cutting targets to rich nations and includes legal sanctions if they fail to meet these.
"If the U.S. only has a problem with the (Kyoto) label but not with the substance then that's a different issue," he said referring to India's opposition.
"If, on the other hand, it's not only a matter of the label but it is something much more fundamental ... is the U.S. Congress in a position to accept international enforcement? If you look at legislation currently before Congress they don't have that, it is entirely domestic."
"There is a lack of clarity on which way we're going."
Saran rejected recommendations that developing nations such as India and China has obstructed last month's U.N. climate talks, which failed in their core objective to agree national and global emissions targets.
Developing nations has not agreed that the final "Copenhagen Accord" shall be legally binding because they feared that may have diluted the Kyoto Protocol, he said, by giving no assurance that proposed new emissions targets would be enforceable.
Source: Reuters India