India and Third World gear up to take on developed world on climate change
by Ashok B Sharma on 17 Aug 2014 0 Comment

India is again set to show the developed countries their right place in international negotiations as it recently did in Geneva by not approving the protocol of amendment proposed by the 9th ministerial conference in Bali for enshrining the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) into the WTO Marrakesh Agreement till its concerns over food security are met. This time the venue will be Lima in Peru where the battle lines are being drawn between developing and developed nations over the issue of halting climate change, in the first half of December 2014.


Unlike in Geneva, India would not be isolated. It will have the support of Brazil, South Africa and China and the group of 77 developing and least developed countries. Brazil, South Africa, India and China form the BASIC group. The BASIC environment ministers who deliberated in New Delhi for two days firmly resolved to take on the Annexe 1 group represented by the developed nations.


“…..the developed countries should take the lead in addressing climate change in accordance with their historical responsibilities, the latest available scientific evidence on climate change trends and the IPCC AR5,” the joint statement issued said. This means that developed countries need to commit themselves to more emission cuts. They should commit financial aid, technology transfers to the developing countries to combat climate change.


As per plans, the developing countries intend to take on the developed world step by step in the process, keeping in view the progress made after the Warsaw Conference of Parties (CoP). The immediate focus is on 20th session of the Conference of Parties (CoP) to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC) and the 10th session of CoP serving as Meeting of Parties (CMP) to the Kyoto Protocol scheduled in Lima in Peru on December 1-12, 2014.


As a run-up to the 20th CoP, Venezuela is scheduled to host a pre-CoP meeting.


The BASIC group is determined to work for a successful outcome at Lima that would make the 21st CoP and 11th CMP in Paris “comprehensive, balanced, equitable and fair in order to enhance the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention.”


The 3rd Conference of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) scheduled on September 1-4, 2014 in Apa in Samoa is also likely to strengthen the agenda of BASIC countries. The Group of 77 and China which met in Santa Cruz in June 2014 has provided ample inputs for firming up BASIC agenda. The upcoming Summit on Climate Change to be hosted by the UN Secretary General in New York on September 23, 2014 is likely to generate political momentum on climate action. China is slated to host a meeting of like-minded countries. South Africa will be hosting the 19th BASIC Ministerial Meeting in the third week of October, this year.


The UNFCCC was adopted in 1992 and has since been ratified by 195 Parties. The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997 to implement the UNFCCC and entered into force in 2005. It laid down targets for the reduction or limitation of greenhouse gas emissions only in developed countries and transition economies. In 2007, the Parties initiated work aimed at drawing up a post-2012 climate agreement, applicable to all emitters of greenhouse gases.


The Copenhagen political accord of 2009, the Conferences of Cancun (2010), Durban (2011) and Doha (2012) laid the foundations of this new international regime, supplementing the existing instruments in the framework of the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol. In 2011, the Parties affirmed their will to conclude this new climate agreement in 2015, with entry into force planned for 2020. In accordance with the internal rules of the UNFCCC, providing for an annual rotation by UN regional group, the hosting of the 2015 Summit should be provided by a Western European country.


In September 2012, French President François Hollande announced France’s candidacy to host this major event in 2015.


The 18th meeting of BASIC ministers in New Delhi reiterated that the six core elements for the 2015 outcome have been identified in paragraph 5 of decision 1/CP.17 and that these should be addressed in a balanced and comprehensive manner through an open and transparent, inclusive, party-driven and consensus-building process.


The process and outcome of the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) must be in full accordance with all the principles, provisions and structure of the Convention, in particular the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.


The BASIC leaders urged the developed countries to implement their commitments under the Convention towards developing countries for provision of finance, technology and capacity-building support as per the relevance of Article 4.7 of the Convention.


All member countries need to communicate their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) towards combating climate change as early as possible. The INDCs should include all pillars of the Durban Platform - mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer and capacity-building.


The commitments of the developed countries to be included in the INDCs should be quantified economy-wide emission reduction targets for mitigation and provision of finance, technology development and transfer as well as capacity building support to developing countries for their mitigation and adaptation actions. The INDCs of developing countries will be in the context of their social and development needs and will also be premised on the extent of financial, technological and capacity-building support provided by developed countries. This is needed for clarity and transparency as per Warsaw CoP. The INDCs of developing and developed nations should be viewed differently keeping in view the common but differentiated responsibilities.


Kyoto Protocol remains as an essential and legally binding basis for addressing pre-2020 mitigation ambition. The BASIC ministers called for the expeditious ratification of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and emphasized the importance of revisiting and significantly increasing ambition of QELROs in 2014 and in line with what is required by science, and comparable pledges in the same timeframe by those Annex I Parties, who have not participated in the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol till now. The ministers expressed their serious concern on the low level of mitigation ambition of developed countries and called for necessary arrangements to be made for the 2014 Revisit for increasing the emission reduction targets by all developed country parties.


The BASIC ministers expressed disappointment over the continued lack of any clear roadmap for providing $ 100 billion per year by developed countries by 2020. The developed countries should honour their obligations to provide new, additional and predictable financial support to developing countries in a measurable, reportable and verifiable manner. The public financial sources should be the mainstay of climate finance and that private finances could only be expected to play a supplementary role.      

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