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BASIC countries want legally binding climate change agreement


Cape Town: India, China, Brazil and South Africa Monday called for finalising a legally binding treaty on reduction of carbon emission latest by 2011 and indicated that the world could not wait indefinitely.

The third meeting of BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) ministers concluded in Cape Town April 25. The meeting was cut short by a day as Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had to leave early.

“The ministers noted news reports that domestic legislation in the US had been postponed and indicated that the world could not wait indefinitely, as it hinders our ability to reach an internationally legally binding agreement,” said a joint statement released here Monday.

The statement said the ministers feel that a legally binding outcome should be concluded during climate change meet at Cancun, Mexico in 2010, or at the latest in South Africa by 2011.

“Developing countries strongly support international legally binding agreements, as the lack of such agreements hurts developing countries more than developed countries,” it said.

The ministers said that negotiations should follow a two-pronged approach. One track is on long-term cooperative action to combat climate change. The other is for developed countries to commit to what extent they will reduce their greenhouse gas emissions after 2012, when the current commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol runs out.

The ministers were of the view that it will not be possible to deal with mitigation actions by developing countries, without also dealing with support for those actions and the two-fold commitments by developed countries to both provide finance for developing countries and reduce their own emissions.

“The ministers noted that the Copenhagen Accord provides for the scale of finance in short and medium-term. The commitments to provide finance must be operationalised. Both the USD 30 billion (2010-2012) and the USD 100 billion annually (by 2020) should be provided by developed countries,” it said.

Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of the National Development and Reforms Commission from China, Izabella Teixeira, minister for environment from Brazil, and Buyelwa Sonjica, minister of water and environmental affairs from South Africa also attended the meet.

The next BASIC ministerial meeting will be held at the end of July in Brazil followed by one hosted by China at the end of October.