A common Africa-BASIC draft has been prepared though it will not be unveiled as yet, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has said.

The text 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.

Mr. Ramesh said on Sunday, that all countries had decided to work off the two texts prepared by the Chairs of the Working Group on Long Term Cooperative Action under the Bali Action Plan and the Working Group of the Kyoto Protocol — both of whom tabled drafts of texts a few days ago.

“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,” Mr. Ramesh said in response to a question by PTI.

“As of now all countries have agreed that we will negotiate on the basis of these two legitimate drafts prepared by chairs,” he said.

Countries introduced a text prepared in Beijing at the end of November.

However, several countries including the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Alliance of Small Island States and several African countries stated that the text was geared towards the interest of the emerging economies and did not cater to their particular vulnerabilities especially on adaptation.

The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and African countries were especially concerned about the limit to temperature rise listed as 2 degree celsius and they prefer 1.5 or lower.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has evidence that with a 2 degree cap, some Small Islands are in the danger of being submerged under rising sea levels while others will face catastrophic consequences.

In the integrated draft, Mr. Ramesh said both 1.5 degree celcius and 2 were bracketed (subject to negotiation).

“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, Mr. 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, U.S. President Barack Obama, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao begin to arrive this week.