BASIC strategises to counter Danish draft

BASIC strategises to counter Danish draft


A Danish riot police officer uses pepper spray, as police push back protestors during a demonstration outside the Bella Center in Copenhagen. AP

India met other BASIC countries Brazil, South Africa and China in an emergency meeting for almost three hours last night to discuss the plan of action on a day when negotiations were delayed for eight hours and very little work could be done on the two texts that parties have actually been working on for more than a week.

The developing countries are angry that the mysterious draft text that has been prepared by the Danish presidency has not been circulated for the rest of the parties to study. There is a strong suspicion that this is a deliberate move on the part of the developed nations.

Speaking after the meeting, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said that the BASIC countries were going to insist the negotiations resume early next day and the drafting of the texts would be completed. "We reviewed the state of play. We are concerned that we don't have text," he said.

"Today has been a wasted day," Ramesh added, underlining that BASIC hoped that today would be the last day of the negotiations. "The process has been badly handled".
The minister noted that the negotiations would probably end in a political agreement but it was the "content of the political declaration" that was still uncertain.
Earlier in the day chaos ensued when it was announced that the Danish presidency had prepared texts on both tracks dealing with two tracks of the Kyoto Protocol and Long Term Cooperative Action (LCA).

Parallel to the meeting of BASIC group of countries, the Conference Plenary was reconvened at 10 in the evening after a delay of 12 hours to allow the chair of the Group on long-term cooperative action, Michael Cutajar, to present his report on the draft text of the of the LCA pursuant to the Bali Action Plan.

Cutajar noted that refinements were made to areas of emission reductions, nationally appropriate mitigation actions and the provision of financial resources and investment but they were far from finalised.

"Consistency with the convention (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) must be ensured. We cannot rewrite the Convention," Vijai Sharma, India's Environment Secretary told the delegates at the meeting.
Meanwhile, there is concern that the developed nations are also trying to bury the Kyoto Protocol.

The overall Climate negotiations are moving under two tracks--the first track is LCA under Bali Action Plan that requires parties to produce a legally binding treaty before the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012.
The second track is the extension of the Kyoto Protocol into the second commitment period from 2013 to 2018 where developed countries listed under Annex B will have to take binding cuts.

The BASIC countries and Africa stress that only the developed countries can make mitigation pledges under the second commitment period from 2013-2018 but the European Union, Australia, Japan, Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) want a document broader than the existing Protocol that puts obligations on the United States and on emerging economies.

The European Union categorically has stated that it prefers one treaty that "goes beyond Kyoto".

"We prefer a single agreement," Stavros Dimas, the European commissioner for environment, told journalists. "We really support the architecture of Kyoto...We want to use all the good things of it but it’s not enough. We’re more ambitious than Kyoto".
Since the beginning of the conference the developed countries are trying to "kill" Kyoto and yesterday's events further heightened their fears since a Danish draft could leave out key elements of the Protocol.

"There was a concerted effort to see that Kyoto gets into intensive care," Ramesh said. "If we are going to start with the basic premise that the Kyoto draft is to be abandoned then the negotiations have been conducted in very bad faith".

A visibly angry Ramesh described the negotiation as having a "trust deficit" stating that India, China, Brazil and South Africa were not to blame for the deadlock.
"If there are disappointments from Copenhagen then the developing countries are not to blame," he said.

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