PM says no to 31 Jan climate deadline

PM says no to 31 Jan climate deadline

New Delhi: India has rejected the United Nations’ 31 January deadline for submitting detailed targets for carbon emission cuts under the Copenhagen Accord on climate change.

But ministers from Brazil, South Africa, India and China—which make up the so-called BASIC bloc of developing countries cooperating in the climate change talks—said after a meeting on Sunday that they intended to communicate their voluntary actions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC.

Last month, UN members had “taken note" of the Copenhagen Accord in the absence of consensus on emission cuts at a climate summit in the Danish capital, and agreed to submit voluntary emission cuts as well as climate action plans later.

Emission cuts, scientists say, are necessary to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and contain global warming, but nations are divided over the extent of emission reductions.

The industrialized world wants developing nations—where emissions are growing rapidly—to take the lead. But these nations have refused, blaming the industrialized world for historically high carbon emissions.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is unhappy about repeated calls from UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen to accede to the 31 January deadline for target submission, officials at the Prime Minister’s Office said.

Ban and Rasmussen had written to Singh, urging him to meet the deadline.

Singh has also questioned the legal status of certain provisions of last month’s Copenhagen Accord. “Before going ahead with targets submission, the Prime Minister wants to be clarified on certain issues on which Ban’s letter is silent," officials added.

Speaking after their meeting in New Delhi, BASIC ministers tried to realign themselves with the Group of 77 (G-77) developing countries.

“There is no formal group called BASIC. It will not take decisions for the G-77," said Buyelwa Sonjica, minister of water and environmental affairs of South Africa. “Whatever we pursue will be for the issues that G-77 has and we will not take our discussions to the UNFCCC."

The group also decided to meet every three months.

PTI contributed to this story.