On Saturday, India sent across a stern reply to the UN questioning the legal standing of provisions in the Copenhagen Accord. A day later, BASIC countries decided on communicating voluntary mitigation actions, formulated in the first Ministerial-level meeting of these countries, to the UNFCC.

The group of four major emerging economies - Brazil, South Africa, India and China - on Sunday expressed their intention to communicate information on their voluntary mitigation actions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by January 31.

This decision was taken at the second Ministerial-level meeting of the BASIC group of countries here. The BASIC members have already announced a series of voluntary mitigation actions for 2020 with India declaring to reduce its greenhouse gas emission intensity up to 25 per cent. The UNFCCC has asked the countries to convey by January 31 their stand on the legally non-binding Copenhagen Accord arrived at in the Danish capital last month.

The Ministers re-emphasised their commitment to working together with other countries - particularly the G-77 - to ensure a consensus at the Conference of Parties at Mexico later this year. They underscored the centrality of the UNFCCC process and the decision of the parties to carry forward the negotiations on two tracks - Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the UNFCCC and the Ad Hoc Working Group on further emission reduction commitments for Annexe I parties under the Kyoto Protocol in 2010 leading up to COP-16 at Mexico.

Addressing a joint press conference after the meeting, the Ministers said it had been decided to create a fund to help the small island state countries, least developed countries and the vulnerable nations apart from helping them technologically. “The amount of contributions will be decided at the next meeting of the group in South Africa,” Minister of Environment from Brazil Carlos Minc said, adding the resources would “overcome” the $10 billion committed by the developed countries at Copenhagen.

Vice-chairman of the National Development and Reforms Commission from China, Xie Zhenhua, said the BASIC group’s objectives were consistent with the interests of the developing countries. “BASIC will take the lead in large-scale emission reduction and also stick to the policy of common but differentiated principle.”

Reiterating that the BASIC group was part of the G-77, South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Buyelwa Sonjica said the group would not take any decision outside the G-77 and whatever was decided at the Sunday meeting would be conveyed to G-77. “We see ourselves adding value to the proposals of G-77,” she said.

India’s appeal

Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh called for an early flow of the pledged $10 billion in 2010 with focus on the least developed countries, small island developing states and African countries as proof of the commitment from the developed nations to urgently address the global challenge of climate change.