Environment ministers of the BASIC countries -- Brazil, South Africa, India and China -- have said that a legally binding global agreement to limit climate change needed to be completed by 2011, noting that the world could not wait indefinitely for the US to finalise its legislation on the issue.
The BASIC leaders, who met here to look at how to fast-track such a pact to curb global warming, gave the statement at the conclusion of the third meeting of the group on Sunday.
"A step-change is required in negotiations, and incremental progress on its own will not raise the level of ambition to the extent needed to avoid dangerous climate change and impacts on poor countries and communities," the ministers indicated in a joint statement, noting reports that domestic legislation on climate change in the US had been postponed.
"Ministers felt that a legally binding outcome on long-term cooperative action under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol, to be concluded at Cancun, Mexico in 2010, or at the latest in South Africa by 2011, the ministers said in a joint statement.
Asserting that lack of such agreements hurt developing countries more than developed countries, the ministers said such deals must include an accord on quantified emission reduction targets under a second commitment period for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol.
The ministers who participated in the meeting were Xie Zhenhua, Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reforms Commission from China; Izabella Teixeira, Minister for Environment from Brazil; Jairam Ramesh, Minister for Environment and Forests from India, and Buyelwa Sonjica, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs from South Africa.
The ministers said the only legitimate forum for negotiation of climate change is the UNFCCC.
Small groups could make a contribution in resolving conflicts, but they must be representative and their composition must be determined through fully inclusive and transparent negotiations, with a mechanism for reporting back to the multi-lateral forum, the statement said.
Building on the discussion held in New Delhi in January 2010, the ministers elaborated areas in which progress could be made in the run-up to Cancun, including the early flow of fast-start finance of the USD 10 billion in 2010 pledged by developed countries. Equity will be a key issue for any agreement.
The ministers noted that the Copenhagen accord set a global goal of keeping temperature increase below 2degreesC above pre-industrial levels, without jeopardising economic growth and poverty alleviation.
This implied a certain global carbon budget.
The implications of this budget for individual countries required careful analysis, and must be based on a multilateral agreement about equitable burden-sharing, including historical responsibility for climate change, the need to allow developing countries equitable space for development, and adequate finance, technology and capacity-building support provided by developed countries for all developing countries.
The ministers were of the view that it would not be possible to deal with mitigation actions by developing countries, without also dealing with support for those actions and the two-fold commitments by developed countries to both provide finance for developing countries and reduce their own emissions, with consequences of non-fulfilment.
They emphasised again that BASIC is more than a forum focused on negotiations.
They supported collaboration among experts from BASIC countries and welcomed the creation of an on-going forum, including work on adaptation and mitigation action plans and scenarios.
The ministers agreed that, remaining anchored in the G77 and China, they would continue to contribute constructively to the multi-lateral negotiations on climate change.
The next BASIC ministerial meeting he will be in Brazil in July, followed by one in China in October 2010.