TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Feb13/01)
19 February 2013
Third World Network

BASIC ministers disappointed over low ambition by North
Published in SUNS #7528 dated 19 February 2013

New Delhi, 18 Feb (Meena Raman) - Ministers from the BASIC countries expressed disappointment over the low level of mitigation ambition pledged by developed countries at the climate talks in Doha and over their lack of commitment to any roadmap to ratchet up the provision of finance to developing countries.

They said this in a joint statement issued at the conclusion of the 14th BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) Ministerial meeting on climate change held in Chennai, India, from 15-16 February 2013.

The Ministers, in the statement, expressed disappointment over the low level of mitigation ambition pledged under the 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and hoped that "developed countries who have taken commitments under the 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol will raise their ambition level in 2014 in consonance with science and their historical responsibility. At the same time, they strongly emphasised that developed countries which are not part of Kyoto Protocol or have not joined the 2nd commitment period must equally raise their ambition in the same timeframe and take on comparable mitigation commitments under the Convention."

The Chennai meeting was attended by Mrs. Jayanthi Natarajan, Minister for State Environment and Forests of India; Mr. Xie Zhenhua, Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission of China; Mr. Carlos Augusto Klink, Secretary for Climate Change and Environment Quality, Ministry of Environment, Brazil; and Mr Alfred James Wills, Deputy Director General, Department of Environmental Affairs of South Africa.

Mr. Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah of Qatar, President of the 18th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP18), also participated in the meeting.

According to the joint statement, Ministers "welcomed the decision on operationalisation of the 2nd commitment period and the consequent amendments to the Kyoto Protocol as a key element of Doha Climate Gateway. They appreciated the leadership shown by those developed country parties which have joined the second commitment period. They reaffirmed that the Kyoto Protocol remains a key component of the international climate regime and an essential basis for ambition within the regime. They called for parties, particularly developed country parties, to ratify the amendments as soon as possible so as to ensure legal certainty."

The Ministers emphasised that "one of the key issues to be considered in the run up to COP21 is the question of ambition under both the Kyoto Protocol and the Convention."

"They stressed that Annex I Parties should raise ambition and, in this context, also take into consideration the latest available scientific evidence on climate change trends, the impact of historical emissions of developed countries at the global level and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report which indicates that aggregate emissions of greenhouse gases by Parties included in Annex I should be reduced by at least 25-40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020."

The statement also said that the "Ministers stressed that actions of others can be enhanced further with greater provision of finance and technology transfer. They urged that, in the overall interest of raising global ambition, the developed countries must take the lead and scale up ambition not just in mitigation but also in adaptation, finance, technology transfer and capacity building."

They also reiterated that "developing countries, including the BASIC countries have done much to raise the global ambition. They have voluntarily presented their ambitious nationally appropriate mitigation actions at the international level and have agreed to a regime of transparency of actions. These actions constitute far greater in quantum and impact than those of the developed countries. Keeping in mind the need to enhance global effort, Ministers urged the developed countries to come forward and reciprocate the gesture and efforts of developing countries."

The Ministers reaffirmed the centrality of the principles and provisions of the UNFCCC process. In this regard, "they welcomed the Doha decision on agreed outcome pursuant to Bali Action Plan that Parties' efforts should be undertaken on the basis of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) and respective capabilities, and should be supported and enabled by finance, technology transfer and capacity building directed towards developing countries and should take into account their imperatives of equitable access to sustainable development."

They "underlined the importance of means of implementation to enable the mitigation and adaptation actions in developing countries and stressed that the obligations of developed countries to provide financial, technology transfer and capacity building support to developing country Parties must be fulfilled to enhance the implementation of Convention. They reiterated the importance of achieving the goal of providing US$100 billion per year by 2020 as committed by developed country Parties and underscored the need for a clear roadmap in this regard."

The Ministers also "expressed disappointment on the lack of commitment to any roadmap to ratchet up the provision of such finance and called upon Annex I Parties to continue to provide, in the short term, at least the same level as ‘Fast Start Finance' till the roadmap is delineated. They underscored the need for Global Environment Facility to provide additional financial resources to developing countries, including for preparing National Communications and Biennial Update Reports."

They "underscored that the early and meaningful operationalisation of the mechanisms set up in recent years to support developing countries, including the Green Climate Fund, Technology Mechanism, Adaptation Committee etc. needs to be prioritised."

Welcoming the advancement in work of the Durban Platform and the planning of work through decision adopted at Doha, the Ministers "reiterated their belief that the work of the Durban Platform was not taking place in a vacuum but rather is based on and must build on the work carried out by parties under the Bali Road Map with its two tracks of Kyoto Protocol and Long-term Cooperative Action."

They also "welcomed the decision in Doha that acknowledges that the work of Ad hoc working group on the Durban Platform (ADP) shall be guided by the principles of the Convention. This understanding was the basis for the agreement on the Durban Platform at COP17."

They "reaffirmed that the objective of the Durban Platform is to enhance efforts of all parties by further strengthening the multilateral rules-based climate regime and ensuring the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention after 2020."

The Ministers added that "the Durban Platform is by no means a process to negotiate a new regime, nor to renegotiate, rewrite or reinterpret the Convention and its principles and provisions. As agreed by all Parties, both the process and the outcome of the Durban Platform are under the Convention, in accordance with all its principles and provisions, in particular the principles of equity and CBDR and respective capabilities."

In the context of the ADP, the Ministers "stressed that the pre-2020 ambition should primarily be addressed in the context of actions of parties under Kyoto Protocol 2nd commitment period and the agreed outcome pursuant to Bali Action Plan and in accordance with the principles and provisions of the Convention, respecting the nationally appropriate mitigation actions already presented."

They further "underlined that the new market based mechanism under the Convention requires the enhancement of emission reduction commitments by developed countries given their current low levels of ambition. In this context, the new market based mechanism should be guided by the principles of the Convention, including CBDR and equity, and promote environmental integrity. They also emphasised that the framework for various approaches should not be decided in isolation and should also include the scope and nature of such approaches."

According to the joint statement, the Ministers further "underlined that the principles of the Convention should underpin the on-going discussions in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on international civil aviation emissions and in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on maritime emissions."

"In the context of international civil aviation negotiations in ICAO, they rejected the unilateral approach of the EU under the EU-Emissions Trading Scheme and reiterated the importance of adhering to multilateralism. Further, there was a need to focus on the entire basket of measures and considerably enhance work on non-market based measures. The discussion on market based measures in ICAO, even if these market based measures are undertaken within the national jurisdiction, should be based on the principles of the UNFCCC, environmental integrity, voluntary participation and not prejudge the outcome of the negotiations in the UNFCCC," said the statement further.

The Ministers "reaffirmed the importance of multilateralism in addressing climate change in accordance with the principles and provisions of the Convention and reiterated their strong opposition to any unilateral measures on international aviation and shipping as well as similar intentions regarding other sectors."

They further emphasised "the importance of adaptation and loss and damage for developing countries and underlined that particular focus should be given to enhance risk management, risk reduction, climate resilience and disaster response and to clarifying the institutional mechanism for addressing loss and damage."

They also "recognised the importance of 2013-15 ‘review' under the UNFCCC and welcomed the reaffirmation that the review was not a review of the Convention itself and must include a review of the implementation of the commitments under the Convention."

The Ministers also "noted the recommendation of the BASIC experts to organise an international conference on scientific and technical aspects of black carbon and the need for further work for enhancement of knowledge and understanding of the potential role of black carbon in global warming, besides reduction of the extant uncertainty."

They further "noted the recommendation of the BASIC experts to devise a work programme on aspects, such as equity and the market based mechanism, considered relevant in the context of international climate change negotiations. They requested BASIC experts to provide inputs for the 2013-15 review under the UNFCCC."

The Ministers also "requested the experts to engage on the IPCC 5th Assessment Report and inform them periodically." They "underlined their commitment to their unity of the BASIC countries and stressed the utmost importance of the unity of G77 and China, and reaffirmed the commitment of BASIC countries to strengthen it."

The Ministers also "underlined the urgency of tackling climate change, and reiterated their continued efforts to enhance South-South cooperation."

The next BASIC Ministerial meeting will be held in South Africa in the second quarter of 2013.