Greenpeace has welcomed the position taken by Ministers of BASIC, a grouping of Brazil, South Africa, India and China, who met here on Sunday, to continue negotiations to clinch a fair and ambitious climate agreement within the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

However, Greenpeace emphasised that such an agreement should be legally binding.

In a joint statement, the Ministers called for meetings of the Convention’s working groups on long-term cooperative action and the Kyoto Protocol to be held in March this year. They also wanted the working groups to meet at least five times before the next major climate conference, scheduled for November 29 in Mexico.

The Ministers wanted all negotiations conducted in an inclusive and transparent manner. They favoured better South-South scientific cooperation and support for vulnerable countries to adapt themselves to climate change.

In a statement, Greenpeace said it was encouraged by the willingness of BASIC to support vulnerable countries, by ensuring their participation in open and transparent negotiations and providing them with technological and or financial support. However, the BASIC countries must make their support more tangible by the time of its next meeting to be hosted by the South African government in April 2010.

Pointing to the further consolidation of the BASIC countries as a group, Greenpeace urged them to assume the responsibilities concomitant to an alliance of such influential economic powers. Besides demonstrating leadership in furthering talks on a fair, ambitious and legally binding agreement, these countries should exert pressure on industrialised countries to urgently reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make their own contribution to emission cuts.

“Continued inaction by governments will allow global warming to engulf us all,” Siddharth Pathak, Climate and Energy Policy Officer, Greenpeace India, said.

“If we are to keep this demon at bay, industrialised countries must together cut their emissions 40 per cent below the 1990 levels by 2020 and provide massive financial and technological support to developing nations to reduce their projected growth in emissions by 15-30 per cent over the same timescale. It’s no easy task, but the consequences of failure will be among our worst nightmares,” he said.

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