BASIC, Africa ready with joint draft on climate change: Ramesh



BASIC, Africa ready with joint draft on climate change: Ramesh Copenhagen: Disappointed with some of the stiff conditions in the climate change draft treaty, India in close co-ordination with China and several countries including from Africa, have prepared an integrated document emphasising on "equitable access" to atmospheric space for all.

The integrated draft of a potential treaty prepared by the BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) has been merged with another text prepared by the Africa group within the G77, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said.

"We have merged the Africa draft and the BASIC draft. We now have a common Africa-Basic draft but we are not unveiling it now," he said.

Ahead of the ministerial-level meeting, Ramesh said that India would not compromise on its three key principles -- no legally binding emission cuts, no peaking year and no international review of domestic-funded mitigation actions.

"India will not compromise on its 'teen-murti'," he said adding that the outcome of the talks must be within the UN Framework on Climate Change, stick to the Kyoto Protocol and abide by the Bali Action Plan.

"Some countries think that we are going to do a new convention. Some countries think we're going to do a new protocol. So we made it absolutely clear that India is here not to renegotiate the three murthi," the minister said.

"I have made it absolutely clear that we're not here to negotiate a new agreement, we have not come here to negotiate a new protocol," he said.

Ramesh said India would not divert from the two track process -- Kyoto Protocol and Long Term Cooperative action. "We are here to facilitate an agreement on 18th of December which will enable the existing two track process. This is not the right time to talk of a new agreement of a new protocol."

In the integrated Africa-BASIC draft, he said both 1.5 degree Celsius and 2 were bracketed (subject to negotiation).

"It's not whether it is 1.5 or 2 that is critical, what is critical is the equitable access to atmospheric space. If that principle is accepted you can have 1.5, you can have 1.8 you can have 2," he said.

The minister noted that India's position that a global goal should be preceded by an equitable formula for sharing of atmospheric space was strongly supported by France.

Ramesh also said that India was not having a major standoff with the United States but the real differences existed between the China and the developed world as well as the between European Union and the United States.

"India is not in the firing line," he said and admitted that India and other emerging economies' stand was different from the 43 countries in the AOSIS.

"We have to deal with them because they have a different point of view. I have been at pains to stress we do not want confrontation we want compromise and consensus," he said.

Ramesh noted that India and China were in "very close coordination" with several meetings between himself and Chinese Minister Xie Zhenhua in the past two days.

"We meet very frequently. We are coordinating our position. India's constructive role has come in for considerable mention and place. We're not being confrontation. We are trying to get all parties together," Ramesh said indicating he met his counterparts from Brazil and South Africa.

Ramesh said that based on his discussions so far, it appeared that if Copenhagen summit failed to deliver "what NGOs are calling FAB (Fair, Ambitious and Binding)" it would not be because of "India or the developing countries but because of differences between the developed world".

"There are differences between the EU and America," he said, noting that the European and Japanese don't want to take on legal commitments unless the Americans also commit more but the US has made it clear that they will not join into any instrument that evenly remotely resembles the Kyoto Protocol.

"The basic issue is credibility of the commitments that the developed world has not been able to fulfill and they cannot hold India and China as excuses for non fulfillment," he added, pointing out that the developed countries had not kept their commitments to peak by 2020.

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"Its not whether it is 1.5 or 2 that is critical, what is critical is the equitable access to atmospheric space. If that principle is accepted you can have 1.5, you can have 1.8 you can have 2," he said.

The minister noted that India's position that a global goal should be preceded by an equitable formula for sharing of atmospheric space was strongly supported by France.

"France has strongly supported India's proposal that a global goal should be based on equitable access for atmospheric space measured in terms of per capita convergence," he said.

However, Ramesh noted that currently both groups had decided to hold back the drafts and continue working on the UN texts. "These are the only two documents that have legitimacy that have been prepared by the two chairs," he said.

The minister warned that if any of the other groups or nations sprang a surprise draft like the Danish text then the G77 countries would put out this text.

"If there is any attempt to derail these two drafts we will unveil that draft. If Australia or Denmark tries to come up with another googly of a draft we will then get into the BASIC-Africa text," he said.

Delegates from 192 countries have been for a week attempting to hammer out a climate change treaty before the heads of state/government from over a 100 countries including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, US President Barack Obama, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao begin to arrive this week.

PTI