BASIC meet crucial for climate change negotiations, say Indian environmentalists

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New Delhi, Jan.23 (ANI): On the eve of Environment Ministers of BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India, China) countries meet in New Delhi to chalk out their post-Copenhagen climate strategy, Indian environmentalists say the meeting is likely to be crucial for future climate change negotiations.

The meeting of four of the world's fastest-growing carbon emitters will begin on Sunday (January 24) ahead of the Jan.31 deadline for the countries to submit their Action Plans to fight climate change.

Environment activist and Director of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) Sunita Narain on Saturday said that she hoped that the meeting would help in future climate change negotiations.

"Now the question is how can the multilateral processes, the Kyoto protocol or the other processes be strengthened and I hope this meeting will come together to find what will be that agenda for the future. It is not easy one meeting will not do it but the conversation will help," said Sunita Narain.

She further noted that BASIC countries should try to come at a consensus that helps them to persuade industrialized countries to cut their emissions.

"I think very importantly the BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) countries have to agree how now in the processes that are happening under the UNFCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) whether it is the long term cooperative action, that they can agree on how the Annex-1 countries (industrialised countries) will cut their emissions. Two, the BASIC countries also need their right to development, which means that these countries must also under the UNFCC agree on the technology transfer and the financial mechanism," added Sunita Narain.

Siddharth Pathak, Policy Officer, Climate and Energy wing of Greenpeace India said that BASIC bloc should mull whether they need to support the Copenhagen accord.

"If you look at the Copenhagen accord it gives a deadline for 31st January for submitting of national actions into the accord itself. So these countries have to actually now make a decision on being associated with the accord itself. We know that they were in the room when the accord was negotiated upon but how much they do want to be associated with the accord is what these countries will possibly discuss. And also the fact that how and what actions do these countries put in towards the Copenhagen accord, if they agree to support the Copenhagen accord itself," said Siddharth Pathak.

He mentioned that BASIC countries should try to build the pressure on developed countries for a viable deal in future climate change negotiations.

"I think the road ahead would look like they would technically, they should support the vulnerable countries, bring them along and actually try to force the developed countries because in this entire game of climate negotiation the developed countries are the one the pressure on whom has been lost. These four countries can build that pressure again," he added.

The BASIC meeting follows the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference where it was decided to continue negotiations in two tracks relating to the Bali Action Plan and the Kyoto Protocol for another one year so as to have a final outcome at the sixteenth Conference of Parties in Mexico.

At Copenhagen, the President of the COP also had discussion with select group of countries on the 'Copenhagen Accord' that was not adopted but noted by the Conference of Parties (COP).

The so-called BASIC bloc of nations helped broke a political accord at last month's Copenhagen climate summit.

The New Delhi meeting is seen as crucial because what the four countries decide could shape a legally binding climate pact the United Nations hopes to seal at the end of the year.

Many described the non-binding accord at Copenhagen as a failure because it fell far short of the conference's original goal of a more ambitious commitment to prevent more heat waves, droughts and crop failures.

The document set a January 31 deadline for rich nations to submit economy-wide emissions targets for 2020 and for developing countries to present voluntary carbon-curbing actions.

Countries that support the Copenhagen Accord are supposed to add their emission reduction commitments to the schedule at the end of the document. But there is concern some countries might weaken their commitments until a new deal is agreed.

China has pledged to cut the amount of carbon dioxide produced for each unit of economic growth by 40-45 percent by 2020, compared with 2005 levels. For India, that figure is up to 25 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels.

Among the CO2 emitters in the world, China tops the list while India is number four. (ANI)

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