Almost five months after the crafting of the Copenhagen deal, leading emerging economies India, South Africa, Brazil and China are meeting at Cape Town this weekend primarily to discuss the fate of Kyoto Protocol and ways to break the deadlock with the developed countries.

The first phase of the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012 and the developed countries have been reluctant to take emission reduction targets under the next phase as was evident in the watered down climate deal at Copenhagen last December.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh will represent India at the two-day meet of BASIC countries beginning April 25 and will be accompanied by Additional Secretary (Climate) J.M. Mauskar from the ministry.

The Kyoto Protocol seeks binding emission cut targets for industrialised nations while developing countries like China and India have to take voluntary actions to tackle climate change.

However, due to reluctance of developed nations to adhere to the Kyoto Protocol, the four emerging economies will discuss, besides other climate talk details, the possibility of an alternative to the global pact, sources said.

According to the note prepared by South Africa, the host country, the BASIC group will also discuss that in case the global community does not agree to a second commitment period under the pact, what possible global deal could replace the Kyoto Protocol.

Disfavouring any dilution, India has maintained till now that the Kyoto Protocol should continue to stand and the parties should deliver on their commitments.

However, the sources said, South Africa has suggested that discussions be held on the possibility of a shorter second phase of the Kyoto Protocol if there was no light for securing a long enough successive period.

In a nutshell, the meet will discuss how long the Kyoto Protocol will survive, whether a shorter second commitment period designed solely to secure carbon markets could be envisaged, and what would replace the Kyoto if there were no second commitment.

Though the four nations are yet to indicate their position, the agenda reflects the BASIC group readiness for “some flexibility” on climate change, the sources noted.

At the Copenhagen meet, they had clearly maintained that whatever be the nature of the talks in the post-Copenhagen period, those negotiations must be in accordance with the Bali Action Plan (BAP) mandate. Also that the Kyoto Protocol is a legally valid instrument that must remain effective and operative as the negotiations are taken beyond the Copenhagen talks.

The member nations under the platform of United Nations will meet at Cancun in Mexico this December to chalk out a new climate treaty to be acceptable to all.