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Only a balanced 2015 climate agreement acceptable: BASIC countries

The 2015 climate agreement will have to be based on all four pillars of the negotiations — mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology — for the four emerging economies, India, China, Brazil and South Africa ,to accept the new global pact.

This was decided in the closed-door meeting of the ministers of the BASIC group held in Delhi on Thursday and Friday. The four powerhouse economies have also agreed to table their respective international targets to the UN climate talks after mutual consultation.

The unanimity among the four countries is expected to push back the demands from developed countries that the main 2015 agreement be only about emission reduction actions and the related issues of sharing technology, finance and adaptation be delinked from less onerous decisions of the UN, which would be agreed upon later.

China’s minister Xie Zhenhua and India’s Environment minister Prakash Javadekar publicly stated they had exchanged information of the bilateral discussions held with the US on technical collaborations as well as talks on the negotiations. They said so in the joint press conference held by the four after their talks. Sources in the meeting confirmed that both had shared details.

The exchange of information and reiteration of BASIC group and the multilateral forum of UN talks as the primary platform for drawing negotiating strategy are expected to scorch rumours of a Sino-US or US-India deal on the side about the 2015 agreement.

Sources privy to the BASIC meeting said these countries will ramp up their joint diplomatic outreach over the next year-and-a-half in the run-up to the 2015 UN climate meeting in Paris, where the new agreement is to be signed. This signals a renewed vigour in the four-country group that gained prominence in 2009 but over the past years had become relatively less cohesive. The group is expected to reach out to other key developing country blocks in order to find common grounds for negotiations.

The group is also expected to jointly showcase the climate controlling actions each is taking domestically.

“What we found out that even on mitigation front, our actions, South Africa’s, Brazil’s and China’s actions, are more concrete than (that of ) many of the developed countries’. And, therefore, I will suggest that we will make a compendium of what we have done actually. We will put it before the world community,” said Javadekar.

The four countries will not commit any targets at the summit organised by the United Nations Secretary General in September this year at New York outside the formal UN climate negotiations. Though, some of the heads of the states are expected to attend the event. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is yet to decide on attending the summit.

The four countries will not commit any targets at the summit organised by the United Nations Secretary-General in September this year at New York.

The “intended nationally determined contributions” of the four countries will be submitted only to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the four decided in the two-day deliberations. March 2015 has been set as the earliest date for submitting such actions that countries wish to volunteer.

Speaking after the meeting, both South African minister Bomo Edna Molewa and Brazilian deputy minister Francisco Gaetani noted that the UNSG summit was the occasion to generate more political momentum and for developed countries to show more commitment than they had so far to fight climate change and take leadership.

The BASIC meeting is to be followed up by India and China attending the Like-Minded Developing Countries’ five-day meeting, starting September 1, and another round of talks between the BASIC members later in South Africa.

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