New Delhi: New fissures in a group of developing countries could weaken its bargaining position in the global climate change talks that begin next month in Bonn.
India, China, Brazil and South Africa, among more than 30 other developing countries, were isolated in their demand that the rich nations collectively reduce their greenhouse gas emissions over the next 11 years by 40% below their 1990 levels.
A weak bargaining hand will make it more difficult for developing countries to withstand pressures from industrialized countries led by the US to undertake specific commitments to reduce greenhouse emissions. So far, developing nations have declined to accept mandatory cuts, arguing that commitments should be based on per capita emissions and not hurt their economic growth.
The current round of climate change talks are expected to lead to a new deal to replace the Kyoto Protocol that was agreed upon in 1997.
The developed countries operate under the so-called G-77 plus China group. G-77 was set up in 1964 as the largest group of developing nations under the United Nations (UN) to provide them with a collective voice; its membership has expanded to 130 members.
The official submission was made on Friday by a sub-group of at least 30 G-77 members to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. A copy of the submission, reviewed by Mint, also said 1990 should be used as the common base year for measuring emissions, even as some developed countries use different years.
An Indian delegate to the discussions, who did not want to be identified, said the failure of the entire G-77 to endorse the submission suggested a split in the grouping.
Differing with G-77, Costa Rica submitted a proposal for a completely new set of rules to replace the Kyoto Protocol.
India has argued strongly against any replacement of the Kyoto Protocol, which asks for no emission cuts by developing nations without support.
Tuvalu, a small island state and not in G-77, also submitted a replacement protocol for Kyoto. Small island states, which are extremely vulnerable to climate change due to rising sea levels, are more focused on raising resources to deal with the immediate adverse fall out. They have demanded emission cuts be increased to 45% of 1990 levels.
“The greatest fear is that the small island countries will also insist that larger developing nations (such as India) take uncompensated mitigation commitments. This will break the G-77 strong moral and ethical view that developed countries need to compensate due to their historical responsibility,” said another senior government official, requesting anonymity.
India, China and other large developing nations have so far held out against any mandatory emission cut without supporting financial and technology transfer.