Environment ministers from the BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) met in New Delhi on Sunday to agree to a common position on the Climate Change Accord drafted in Copenhagen late last year. Brazilian minister for environment Carlos Minc, South Africa’s environment minister Buyelwa Sonjica and Xie Zhenhua vice-chairman, National Development and Reform Commission of China met India’s environment minister Jairam Ramesh and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to consolidate and announce their common stand on the Accord before the January 31st deadline.
The four developing nations are expected to decide targets and actions that will appeal to a larger majority of developing nations, giving them more negotiating power under the Copenhagen Accord. The BASIC proposal is expected to include technical and administrative assistance by developed nations to developing nations in exchange for reduction in emissions. They are also expected to create a fund to help more vulnerable developing countries deal with climate change.
This is the first multilateral meeting of a negotiating block after December’s Copenhagen summit. The widely criticised Copenhagen Accord is a non-binding document formulated by a small group of countries on the final day of the talks as the meeting faced collapse. It sets a broad goal of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) but does not specify ways of achieving this goal. Instead, countries are being urged to identify what actions they intend to take, a binding deal is expected to be brokered at the end of this year in Mexico.
At Copenhagen, India, considered the world’s fifth largest Green House Gas emitter, said it was prepared to cut its carbon intensity by 20 to 25 percent by 2020; China, now ranked as the world’s largest polluter, by 40 to 45 percent; Brazil, by as much as 39 percent; and South Africa, by 34 percent.