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BASIC nations to discuss climate change

Climate talks by the United Nations were launched two decades ago after scientists warned that humans were warming the planet by pumping carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, primarily through the burning of fossil fuels. Photo: AFPPremium
Climate talks by the United Nations were launched two decades ago after scientists warned that humans were warming the planet by pumping carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, primarily through the burning of fossil fuels. Photo: AFP

The meeting of the BASIC group on 23-24 March in New Delhi follows the conference of parties (CoP) on climate change held in Warsaw last year

New Delhi: Representatives of four major emerging economies will meet in New Delhi next week to try and build a common platform for an all-important meeting in Paris next year that will try to come up with a new global agreement on climate change.

The meeting of the BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) group on 23-24 March in New Delhi follows the conference of parties (CoP) on climate change held in Warsaw last year.

At the Warsaw CoP in November, the poorest developing countries belonging to the Group of 77 (G-77) lent their support to the position taken by the world’s richest countries that want large emerging nations such as India and China to do more to combat climate change.

G-77 countries include some of the world’s poorest as well as smallest that could be overwhelmed by the effects of climate change.

On Friday, Prodipto Ghosh, a member of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s council on climate change, said that it is important for the BASIC group to coordinate its position.

“They also need to strategize on how to take along the G-77 with a view to responding to various proposals under discussion and also to see if they can formulate proposals that they can present jointly as the BASIC group," he said.

Officials from key non-BASIC countries, including Nepal, Bolivia and Nauru, have been invited to the meeting, though they will not be participating officially. Bolivia has been invited as it is the chair of the G-77 and China group, Nepal as the chair of the least developed countries group and Nauru as chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

The Warsaw CoP was not able to achieve anything substantial and was criticized for failing to reach a deal before the final 2015 CoP, but it did manage to strike an agreement over something called the International Mechanism for Loss and Damage (IMLD).

IMLD will be an international mechanism to provide the world’s most vulnerable populations with better protection against loss and damage caused by extreme weather events and slow onset events, such as rising sea levels.

A senior environment ministry official who requested anonymity said that the BASIC group of countries will assess the outcomes of the Warsaw conference and plan a roadmap for the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference in Bonn, Germany in June this year.

UNFCCC is an international non-binding convention and 195 nations are parties to it. Its aim is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.

Climate talks by the United Nations were launched two decades ago after scientists warned that humans were warming the planet by pumping carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, primarily through the burning of fossil fuels.

The environment ministry official quoted above added that representatives of the four BASIC countries will also discuss various elements for the 2015 CoP in Paris, where countries will aim to sign a new agreement on climate change. “We will figure out what the BASIC group wants the new agreement to look like," the official added. The expected new agreement in Paris will be aimed at convincing countries to cut down their emissions of harmful gases in order to minimise the effects of climate change.

Other initiatives such as renewable energy and energy efficiency will also be discussed over the two days.

“While the first day will be the meeting of the negotiators, the second day will be the ministerial discussion," the official said.

The four nations will also prepare plans for the UN secretary general’s climate summit in New York on 23 September, an event that aims to “mobilize political commitment for the conclusion of a global agreement by 2015, as well as to spur enhanced action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build climate resilient communities", according to the UN website.

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