BASIC group wants global pact on climate change by 2011

BASIC group wants global pact on climate change by 2011

Cape Town: Environment ministers of the BASIC bloc -- Brazil, South Africa, India and China -- have said that a legally binding global agreement to limit climate change needed to be completed by 2011, noting that the world could not wait indefinitely for the US to finalize its legislation on the issue.

The BASIC leaders, who met in Cape Town to look at how to fast-track such a pact to curb global warming, gave the statement at the conclusion of the third meeting of the group on Sunday.

“A step-change is required in negotiations, and incremental progress on its own will not raise the level of ambition to the extent needed to avoid dangerous climate change and impacts on poor countries and communities," the ministers indicated in a joint statement, noting reports that domestic legislation on climate change in the US had been postponed.

“Ministers felt that a legally binding outcome on long-term cooperative action under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol, to be concluded at Cancun, Mexico in 2010, or at the latest in South Africa by 2011, the ministers said in a joint statement.

Asserting that lack of such agreements hurt developing countries more than developed countries, the ministers said such deals must include an accord on quantified emission reduction targets under a second commitment period for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol.

The ministers who participated in the meeting were Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of the National Development and Reforms Commission from China; Izabella Teixeira, minister for environment from Brazil; Jairam Ramesh, minister for environment and forests from India, and Buyelwa Sonjica, minister of water and environmental affairs from South Africa.

The ministers said the only legitimate forum for negotiation of climate change is the UNFCCC.

Small groups could make a contribution in resolving conflicts, but they must be representative and their composition must be determined through fully inclusive and transparent negotiations, with a mechanism for reporting back to the multi-lateral forum, the statement said.

Building on the discussion held in New Delhi in January 2010, the ministers elaborated areas in which progress could be made in the run-up to Cancun, including the early flow of fast-start finance of the $10 billion in 2010 pledged by developed countries. Equity will be a key issue for any agreement.