The BASICs of negotiations

The four major developing countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASICS) – say developed countries’ offers are “well below the needs of developing countries”.

Environment ministers from BASICS said on Tuesday (15 Dec) that very few developed countries “have provided the political signals and leadership” indicating ambitious, legally binding emission reductions under second phase of the Kyoto Protocol, and their mitigation pledges so far are “inconsistent with science”.

South Africa's Buyelwa Sonjica read out joint concerns of BASICs

A second concern is what they see as attempts to dump the Kyoto Protocol.

“We cannot turn the clock back on more than a decade of progress and we cannot start a process of renegotiating the convention (UNFCCC),” they say.

They argue that despite their own vulnerability to climate change, and endemic problems of  poverty and food security, the four had agreed mitigation actions on the expectation that there would be financial and technical support, as well as capacity-building, from developed countries.

Recently, South Africa promised a 34 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020 compared with 2003 levels; China a 40-45 percent reduction in carbon emission intensity (amount emitted per unit national wealth generated) by 2020, compared with 2005; India 20-25 percent (as well as doubling renewable energy use and forest cover); and Brazil that it would reduce emissions due to deforestation by 36-39 percent by 2020 and by 80 percent by 2080.

“We have done our best, more than our best, to ensure a positive outcome,” says India’ environment minister Jairam Ramesh.

“If for some reason there is a disappointment (in Copenhagen), the BASICs are not to blame,” he adds.

T V Padma, South Asia Regional Coordinator, SciDev.Net

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