TWN Info Service on Climate Change (July12/04)
17 July 2012
Third World Network

BASIC ministers concerned over low ambition of developed countries
Published in SUNS #7412 dated 17 July 2012

Geneva, 16 Jul (Meena Raman) - The Ministers of the BASIC countries have expressed concern about the "level of ambition of developed countries who are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (KP) which is far below what is required by science and their historical responsibility."

This concern was expressed by the BASIC Ministers in a joint statement issued on 13 July following their 11th meeting held in Johannesburg from 12-13 July. The BASIC countries comprise Brazil, South Africa, India and China.

The Ministers, in their joint statement, said that "the level of ambition reflected in quantified emission limitation and reduction objectives (QELROs) submitted by Annex I countries that are party to the KP is far below what is required by science and their historical responsibility to reduce their emission by at least 25 to 40% by 2020 from their 1990 levels."

They also called for "the adoption of a ratifiable second commitment period under the KP, and its immediate implementation at the beginning of 2013, in order to successfully conclude the work of the Ad-hoc Working Group under the KP (AWG-KP)" at the meeting of the UNFCCC's Conference of Parties (COP) in Doha, Qatar later this year.

The BASIC meeting was attended by Mr. Xie Zhenhua, Vice Chairman, National Development and Reform Commission of China; Ms Edna Molewa, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, South Africa and Ambassador Mxakato-Diseko as representative of the COP17 President; Ambassador Luiz Figueiredo Machado, Under Secretary for Environment, Energy, Science and Technology of the Ministry of External Relations, Brazil; and Ms Mira Mehrishi, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, India.

Also invited to the meeting were Algeria (as Chair of the G77 and China), Swaziland (as Chair of the Africa Group), Nauru (as Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States - AOSIS), and Qatar (as incoming President of COP18).

The BASIC Ministers, in their statement, "welcomed the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) and the adoption of the document ‘The Future We Want', reaffirming the Rio Principles, in particular the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR)."

There also affirmed that the outcome of the Durban meetings last year "represented a carefully balanced package, and stressed the importance of its full and effective implementation in accordance with the decisions taken."

The statement emphasised "that this year is for implementation, focusing on the adoption of the amendment to Annex B of the KP, the adoption of the agreed outcome pursuant to the Bali Action Plan (decision 1/CP.13), and the launching of the Durban Platform".

The Ministers also "emphasized the importance of successfully concluding the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA pursuant to decision 1/CP13 (Bali Action Plan) in Doha, highlighting the urgency of reaching clear decisions on the comparability of effort (in mitigation) through common accounting rules for developed countries, and the full operationalisation of the institutional mechanisms agreed to in Durban, including the Adaptation Framework, finance and technology mechanisms."

The joint statement also "underlined the importance of means of implementation, in particular long-term finance including sources and transparency, as well as technology transfer and ensuring that intellectual property rights are not a barrier to action."

"In this context, Ministers stressed that unresolved issues, in particular the issues of equity, intellectual property rights and unilateral measures must be addressed in the AWGs (Ad-hoc Working Groups), whilst issues of technical nature could be suitably handled by the Subsidiary Bodies under the Convention," said the statement further.

"Ministers were deeply concerned at the continued unilateral action by the European Union (EU) to include international aviation in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS), including intentions for similar unilateral measures, and called for immediate withdrawal of such actions that violate the multilateral rules based system and adversely affect trust amongst Parties."

The statement also "welcomed the launching of the Ad hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) in accordance with decision 1/CP.17 (Durban decision on the Durban Platform) and the progress made at the recent intersessional meeting held in Bonn, Germany, in May 2012."

In their statement, Ministers "recognized that the Durban Platform offers a clear opportunity for the enhanced implementation of the Convention, in order to achieve an equitable, inclusive and effective agreed outcome."

They "reaffirmed that both the process and its outcome (the Durban Platform) shall be under the Convention, and in full accordance with all its principles and provisions, in particular the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities."

The Ministers also "reaffirmed that the ADP shall plan its work, including, inter alia, on mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, transparency of action, and support and capacity-building, drawing upon submissions from Parties and relevant technical, social and economic information and expertise."

The statement stressed that "finance and technology support and adaptation are essential elements for the work on ambition referred to in decision 1/CP.17 (Durban decision), and noted that developing countries have demonstrated full commitment in playing their part in the global fight against climate change, and have presented actions which express significant ambition to reduce emissions. In that regard, developed countries must rise to their historical responsibilities and take the lead by undertaking robust and ambitious mitigation commitments consistent with science, and in accordance with the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities."

The Ministers also "considered further work by experts on equitable access to sustainable development, and identified the need for further work on its operationalisation in the context of the Durban Platform discussions. They also identified the need for further scientific and technical analysis by experts of relevant issues, including the impact of market mechanisms in the context of Annex I ambition, unilateral measures on aviation and maritime emissions, and short-lived climate forcers".

They also "mandated experts to enhance their collaborative efforts in providing technical support to the negotiation process, and also propose practical ways to increase South-South cooperation."

The statement also reaffirmed "the importance of the unity of the Group of 77 and China as the common voice of developing countries in the climate change negotiations".