BASIC pushes for Kyoto Protocol's extension
Durban: Terming reports of fissures among them as "rumours", the BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India, China) group Tuesday presented a unified stand, saying a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol -- the only legally binding regime controlling greenhouse gas emissions - beyond its expiry date next year is a "must".
Addressing a joint press conference, the BASIC group also supported the stand of China and India that they are open to a discussion on a legally binding agreement with pre-conditions.
Xie Zhenhua, China's key negotiator and BASIC chair, said: "Reports of BASIC dividing is a rumour and we all are here to send a signal to the world that we are united firmly in addressing climate change."
"We want the two tracks should be continued and a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol is a must. Developed countries should honour their commitment in climate finance, technology transfers and other issues," he told reporters here.
Under 2007 Bali Action Plan, countries are expected to take measures to check climate change on two tracks - Kyoto Protocol and long-term action.
Xie said that there are differences among countries but the BASIC group is ready to discuss all issues to find a way to enable the Durban conference be a success.
Echoing this, Indian Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said that Kyoto Protocol must continue if parties are really committed to addressing climate change.
"Developing countries should not be asked to make a payment every time an existing obligation becomes due on the part of the developed countries. We have already walked the extra mile and in fact are doing more than what our partners are doing," she said.
She said that some countries have projected the question of a legally binding agreement in future as a panacea for climate change. "This is completely off the mark. This question confuses the implementation with ambition. There is an ambition gap because the Kyoto parties have not fulfilled their political obligations."
She also raised the issue of the European Union levying a carbon tax on civil aviation under its emission trading schemes. "These actions are disguised trade actions in the name of fighting climate change."
The minister said the review of mitigation action by countries should not be confused with a legally binding agreement.
"Review of the long-term global goal does not imply review of the UN convention; it should involve assessment of the implementation gaps in achieving the ultimate objective of the Convention."
Brazilian climate change ambassador Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado said that his country is ready for a legally binding agreement that is "meaningful" and "science based".
The BASIC group projected it expects the issues of $100 billion fast-start finance by rich countries to poor countries, technology transfer to enable energy efficient measures and the right to develop would be addressed at Durban.