Copenhagen accord not legally binding: Basic countries

  • Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Jan 25, 2010 02:00 IST

India, Brazil, China and South Africa, together called the Basic countries, on Sunday said the Copenhagen Accord was only a political agreement and not legally binding as being argued by the developed countries.

The four countries also said they will announce their plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by January 31 as agreed in Copenhagen.

<b1>This is in line with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s letter to Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen stating that the accord was just a “political agreement” and was not “binding”.

Rasmussen had urged all head of states in his New Year letter to convert the Copenhagen Accord into a legally binding document, a view backed by US and Europe.
Singh discussed the accord and prospects of future climate negotiations with the environment ministries of the Basic countries for 45 minutes on Saturday.
“The accord is not a standalone document but is an input for the two track negotiating process,” said Environment and Forest minister Jairam Ramesh on Sunday after a seven-hour meeting with his Basic counterparts.

“We expect the negotiations on these tracks to conclude successfully in Mexico in December 2010.”

The Accord was agreed to by 26 countries, including the US, Europe and Basic countries but the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a body comprising 193 countries, had only taken note of it.

Some countries like Venezuela, Cuba, Sudan and Bolivia had termed the accord as a document of powerful countries aimed at killing the Kyoto Protocol, which had put the blame, and therefore the responsibility for cleaning up the mess, on developed countries.
On Sunday, the Basic countries re-affirmed their commitment to the differentiated responsibility for rich and the developing world and asked the rich countries to release US $ 10 billion in 2010 for the poorer nations to adopt green technologies.

South African Environment minister Buyeliwa Sonjica said that Basic countries were a part of the larger grouping of least developed and developing countries, G-77, and would inform the group of 133 countries about its deliberations.

Also to shame the richer nations and thus force them to fund climate mitigation in poorer nations, the Basic countries discussed the possibility of providing financial and technical aid to the poor nations.
“We have decided to support the least development nations in adaptation,” said Carlos Minc, Brazil’s environment minister. The modalities are to be finalized at next meeting of Basic countries in Cape Town in South Africa in April.

The Basic countries also asked United States to take a leadership role in climate change talks and ensure an agreement is signed in Mexico. “They (US) had been lagging behind in Copenhagen,” said Sonjica.

India will give the UN a plan to cut emission intensity by 20-25 per cent of the GDP by 2020 as a voluntary mitigation action by January 31. But there was no decision yet if India should also tell the UP how it plans to meet the target.

“There is some opposition to India submitting a roadmap as it may be seen as providing too much to the western world,” said Environment ministry official.


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