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Climate Changes & BASIC Nations
BASIC Countries is a group formed by Brazil, South Africa, India and China in November 2009 to work as a bloc in the international climate change negotiations. Recently, on August 7-8, 2014, New Delhi hosted the 18th Basic Ministerial Meeting in Climate Change. This meeting preceded the crucial UN Climate summit meeting in September called by United Nations (UN) Secretary General and the session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris in 2015.
During the New Delhi meeting of BASIC , it was decided that India, China, Brazil and South Africa will accept a new global pact on climate change only if 2015 climate agreement will be based on four pillars of mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology. Participants during the meeting also agreed to put their respective international targets to the UN climate talks after mutual consultation. The unanimity among the four countries is expected to push back the demands from developed countries that 2015 agreement should only be about emission reduction actions and the other related issues of sharing technology, finance and adaptation would be agreed later.
During the meeting group also agreed to enhance their joint diplomatic outreach in the run-up to the 2015 UN climate meeting in Paris, where the new agreement would be signed. The group is expected to reach out to other key developing country blocks in order to find common grounds for negotiations. The group is also expected to jointly showcase the climate controlling actions each is taking domestically.
For any successful international agreement, it is necessary to grasp the development concerns of each country and the geopolitical value they see in cooperation. For the BASIC countries as the four separate states, it is domestic policy priorities that condition how far they can work together, and what they can contribute to climate discussions.
All the four BASIC countries started seeing the fruits of high growth from the ending decades of 20th century. It was the same time when the scientific research started showing the harmful effect of ruthless industrialization on the environment. In the developed world, which mostly constitutes the United States and Europe, the industrialization started in the 19th century and most of the today’s climatic chaos is blamed on them. Though in absolute terms, carbon emission from third world is quite high but in per capita emission, developing countries are far behind the developed ones.
Moreover, developed countries have already reached a higher level of income and human development and now they can afford to replace the cost effective technology with environment friendly technology. Additionally, they have financial and technological capabilities to do so. On the contrary, in developing countries like India, small scale industries contribute to a significant part of export and industrial produce. These small industries are facing the competition from foreign MNCs in a cut throat global market. If a sudden change in technology which is not cost effective is imposed on these industries, they cannot stand the competition and will perish. It is because of this reason; BASIC countries want to push for finance and technology sharing in the climate change negotiations.
Nevertheless, climate change is a reality now resulting in recurring floods and droughts, extreme climatic conditions, melting of glaciers, rising of sea level etc. Developing countries are more vulnerable to these changes than the developed one. In such a scenario, third world cannot step aside leaving the entire onus on the first world.
BASIC nations also understand this fact and to show their seriousness, they are expected to jointly showcase the climate controlling actions each is taking domestically in Paris Conference in 2015. But in order to assure the sustainable development in third world, developed and high income countries must come forward and share additional responsibility and also share finances and technology with the underdeveloped lot of the world.
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