BASIC rejects moves to legalise climate pact

BASIC rejects moves to legalise climate pact

BASIC rejects moves to legalise climate pact

A boy stands amid plastic waste from a plastic bottle recycling plant in a slum area in Mumbai. APAfter a seven-hour-long  meeting, the BASIC countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China – have decided that the accord could at best an “input” to the two track negotiation process that began in Bali in 2007.

As the US, the world largest polluter,  was not a party to the Kyoto Protocol, a new negotiating track – under a new ad-hoc working group – was set up in Bali to bring that country on-board. Set up in 2005, there is a also separate Kyoto track under a different ad hoc working group whose responsibility is to fix new emission targets for the developed nations (other than US) beyond 2012.

With barely any forward movement in any of the two negotiation process, last year the rich nations began a fresh campaign of using the controversial accord – not accepted by many Latin American and G-77 nations at the summit – as the basis for a legally binding agreement. The UN appears to be in tacit support of the move.
In its first meeting, the BASIC group made its opposition to such initiatives explicitly clear.

The BASIC decision comes days after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s reported response to a joint letter written by UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon and Prime Minister of Denmark Lars Lokke Rasmussen, who was the chairman of the Copenhagen summit, asking India to “associate” with the Copenhagen accord. It was seen as a subtle move by rich nations to ask India to legitimise the controversial accord and endorse the effort to use it as the basis of a new legally binding agreement, junking the Kyoto Protocol.

Singh is believed to have rejected the arguments of the letter and pointed out that the understanding of BASIC countries at Copenhagen was that the accord is only a political document.

The BASIC ministers also denied charges that the new group was projecting itself as a separate negotiating point outside the G-77 because their interests do not match with that of many other G-77 nations.

“BASIC is not a parallel or new group. It is embedded within G-77 and seeks to bring out a consensus within G-77, whose current chairman Yemen was also invited for Sunday’s meeting. He could not attend due to his preoccupation,” Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said. South African environment minister Buyelwa Sonjica endorsed his views.

“BASIC will not take a decision on behalf of G-77. Everything discussed at BASIC would be communicated to G-77. We are not going to superimpose our positions and decisions on G-77,” she said, adding that Capte Town would host the next BASIC meeting in April. The seriousness of rich nations, Ramesh said, would be known only if $ 10 billion – promised in Copenhagen accord – flow in 2010 to the least developed countries, small island nations and Africa.