Four of the world’s major developing countries on Saturday agreed on a substantive draft declaration listing their “non-negotiable” demands ahead of next month’s climate summit in Copenhagen.
The 10-page draft, which has been signed by China, India, Brazil and South Africa, is being conceived as a counter to the text that will be released by western countries next week as a possible basis for negotiations, when talks begin on December 7.
Officials in Beijing, who did not want to be named, said the idea was to ensure that the western draft, which Denmark would unveil on December 1, “does not get traction” to become the basis for the negotiations.
The idea of a counter draft representing the positions of developing nations came from Beijing. Chinese climate negotiators last week wrote up a first text, which underwent revisions on Saturday after India, Brazil and South Africa put forward their specific recommendations.
The draft will be released in Copenhagen by Xie Zhenhua, China’s special envoy for climate change, on December 1, the day Denmark unveils its text to a select group of countries, including India and China.
The four developing countries on Saturday also agreed to “co-ordinate” their negotiations positions as well as the timing of their possible exits from the negotiations, said Jairam Ramesh, Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests, and India’s representative at Saturday’s discussions.
Mr. Ramesh said the draft “fully met” India’s requirements and aspirations. Particularly, it underscored what were, for India and other developing nations, four “non-negotiables”: The countries would never accept legally binding emissions cuts, unsupported mitigation actions, international measurement, reporting and verification of unsupported mitigation actions, and the use of climate change as a trade barrier.
“We believe this draft represents a good starting point, and hope this will serve as the basis for negotiations,” said Mr. Ramesh.
“It is a minimum, compromise draft and not ideal. But it takes into account all our concerns, and is realistic as far as international requirements are concerned.”
He said he was only made aware on Friday, by Premier Wen Jiabao, that China had come up with a draft of a possible Copenhagen outcome.
“China has clearly taken a proactive leadership role,” he said.
The draft is anchored in the basic premises of the Kyoto Protocol and the Bali Action Plan, particularly emphasising the provision of finance and technology to support mitigation actions of developing nations.
The four countries, along with Sudan, which attended Saturday’s talks representing the G77 group of developing countries as its acting chair, agreed they would “co-ordinate” their exit from negotiations “if any of the non-negotiables are violated,” said Mr. Ramesh.
“But we are not going to Copenhagen to exit,” he noted.