World Cannot Wait Indefinitely For US: BASIC

Fakir Hassen/Cape Town
World Cannot Wait Indefinitely For US: BASIC
India and three other emerging economies today said the "world cannot wait indefinitely" for the US to pass a domestic legislation and asked the rich countries to take increased level of emission cuts so that a legally-binding treaty can be inked latest by 2011.

During a meeting here, the environment ministers of BASIC group comprising of India, China, Brazil and South Africa favoured global legally binding agreements, saying its absence would hurt the developing nations more than the rich countries.

"The emphasis on equity as a decisive factor for reaching any climate agreement suggests the BASIC nations determination to not to dilute Kyoto Protocol and take up any binding emission cut as have been sought by the developed nations," said a joint statement issued by the bloc.

The Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012 seeks binding emission cut targets for industrialised nations while developing countries like China and India have to take voluntary actions to tackle climate change.

The ministers noted that internationally binding legal pacts already exists in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol and they were already taking ambitious nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMA), as announced in Copenhagen in last December.

The ministers reiterated that it would be impossible for the developing nations to implement mitigation actions in the absence of promised fund by developed countries.

They agreed that in accordance with the mandate of the Bali Roadmap, such pacts must follow "two tracks to include a pact on quantified emission reduction targets under a second commitment period for Annex I Parties (rich nations) under the Kyoto Protocol, as well as a legally binding pact on long-term cooperative action under the Convention."

They also felt that a legally binding outcome should be concluded at Cancun, Mexico in 2010, or at the latest in South Africa by 2011 as "the world cannot wait indefinitely for the passage of a domestic legislation in the US which has been posponed for now," the ministers said.

They also said negotiations must follow a two-pronged approach which develops a politically balanced comprehensive outcome in the formal negotiations under the two ad-hoc working groups, underpinned by the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities.

Building on the discussion held in New Delhi in January, the ministers elaborated areas in which progress could be made in the run-up to Cancun climate meet in Mexico this year-end, including the early flow of fast-start finance of the USD 10 billion in 2010 pledged by developed countries.

The areas where progress could be made included in the implementation of the REDD+ mechanism, transfer of technology development and transfer, adaptation framework encompassing implementation programmes, and a work programme on measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of commitments to finance, technology and capacity-building support by developed countries were also discussed, the statement said.

The ministers noted that in view of the global goal of keeping temperature increase below 2 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels as agreed in the Copenhagen Accord, a certain global carbon budget must be framed.

They also outlined their understanding of how the political agreements on contentious issues, as reflected in the Copenhagen Accord, should be translated into the official negotiating texts under the Ad hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action (AWGLCA) and Ad hoc Working Group on further Commitments by Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWGKP).

"The only legitimate forum for negotiation of climate change is the UNFCCC. Small groups can make a contribution in resolving conflicts, but they must be representative and their composition must be determined through fully inclusive and transparent negotiations, with a mechanism for reporting back to the multi-lateral forum," the statement said.

Determined to play an important role in climate actions, the ministers said the BASIC countries will continue their consultations with other countries and groups, following the "BASIC-Plus" approach, in order to facilitate the resolution of contentious issues in the negotiations.

Brazil Environment Minister Isabella Teixeira; National Development and Reform Commission of China, Vice Chairman Xie Zhenhua and Environmental Affairs Minister of South Africa Buyelwa Sonjica also attended the meeting.
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