BASIC nations 'very happy' with Cancun texts: Ramesh

Last Updated 03 May 2018, 04:59 IST

Following the circulation of two texts, still remain to be adopted by the 193 countries in some formal manner, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said that the outcome was "acceptable" to India.

"We have a Cancun agreement," he said, noting that the BASIC countries were "very happy" with the text. The BASIC countries (BASIC or G4) are a bloc of four large developing countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China – formed by an agreement on 28 November 2009.

Over the past two weeks, there has been concern that the talks might fail since Japan and Russia have said that they will not commit to the second period of the Kyoto Protocol, which is the only treaty on climate change that puts legally binding cuts on developed countries.

In the last few days, negotiators have struggled to formulate text that accommodates the desire of the majority of developing countries to continue with the Kyoto Protocol, and also not to force Japan and Russia into a second commitment period.

The first commitment period, which expires at the end of 2012, requires industrialized countries to reduce their greenhouse gases by 5 per cent from 1990 levels. The text currently calls for the parties to act so that "there is no gap between the first and second commitment periods."

Observers here have interpreted the text differently - some groups have said that it is a "weak" text that will eventually lead to the death of Kyoto Protocol, while others look at it workable "compromise" for the moment.

Observers also said that while the two texts may be considered a significant political step in  moving the negotiations forward, they were not really helpful in combating climate change and the compromises were not rooted in what the science demanded.

"It operationalized the Copenhagen Accord and considering the Copenhagen Accord pledges are not adequate this is disastrous for the environment," said Chandra Bhushan from the Centre of Science and Environment.

The reaction to the text of the long-term plan to combat climate change has also been mixed. Ramesh said that many of India's contribution had been incorporated in the text including the International Consultation and Analysis, which is a transparency mechanism to review whether developing countries are carrying out their domestic mitigation actions.

Ramesh pointed out that under the current texts developed countries were subject to stricter scrutiny on their mitigation cuts than developing countries.

The minister also noted that there is no "peaking year" mentioned in the draft and there was no mention of global emission goal set for 2050.

"Cancun represents an important step forward," he said. On the other hand, Bhushan pointed out that the lack of these two measures for developed countries spelled doom for the environment.

Discussion on the two texts in a meeting with all the countries is set to begin shortly and will extend late into the night. Bolivia, however, criticized the draft as too weak and accused other nations of trying to isolate it at the UN climate change conference.

"This document doesn't take into account Bolivia's proposals," climate negotiator Pablo Solon said. "Bolivia isn't ready to sign up to a document which means a rise in temperature which will put more humans in a near-death situation," Solon said, charging it could allow a rise of more than four degrees Celsius.

(Published 11 December 2010, 03:48 IST)

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