A group of developing countries, among the world’s fastest growing carbon emitters, said on Sunday a legally binding global agreement to limit climate change needed to be completed by 2011 at the latest.
Environment ministers of the so-called BASIC bloc — Brazil, South Africa, India and China — met in Cape Town to look at how to fast-track a globally binding agreement that would bind rich nations to cut emissions and reduce global warming, Reuters reports. “Ministers felt that a legally binding outcome should be concluded at Cancun, Mexico in 2010, or at the latest in South Africa by 2011,” the ministers said in a joint statement, referring to UN climate talks.
The Kyoto Protocol, which the United States did not agree to, binds about 40 developed nations to cutting emissions by 2008-12. UN climate meetings have failed to reach a legally-binding agreement on what happens post 2012. More than 100 countries have backed a non-binding accord, agreed in Copenhagen last year, to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, but did not spell out how this should be achieved. It included a goal of $100 billion in aid for developing nations from 2020.
The United States supports the Copenhagen Accord but many emerging economies do not want it to supplant the 1992 UN Climate Convention which more clearly spells out that rich nations have to take the lead in cutting emissions and combating climate change. Industrialised nations have been unwilling to take on new commitments beyond 2012 unless major emerging nations, such as India and China, also sign up.
“The question of Cancun — right now it looks as if we will have to come back to Cape Town in 2011. There is no breakthrough in sight … we have a long way to go,” Jairam Ramesh, India’s Environment and Forestry Minister told reporters.