Lack of carbon ambition raises concern ahead of Doha climate conference
The BASIC group has called on developed nations to up their level of ambition to tackle climate change, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted existing pledges are not enough to reach a suitable level.
Ministers from the BASIC group, made up of Brazil, South Africa, India and China, reaffirmed in particular the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities". Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), this translates into developed-country parties being expected to take the lead in combating the adverse effects and development of climate change.
The BASIC group highlighted the need to reach "clear decisions on the comparability of effort through common accounting rules for developed countries".
Within this context, the need to put into practice the institutions agreed to at the 2011 climate change conference at Durban, South Aftrica, such as the adaptation framework, finance and technology mechanisms, were also highlighted.
The BASIC group stressed that "developing countries have presented actions which express significant ambition to reduce emissions", while "developed countries must rise to their historical responsibilities and take the lead by undertaking robust and ambitious mitigation commitments consistent with science" and "in accordance with the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities".
Consequently, the countries "expressed concern" about developed countries' lack of ambition in cutting emissions, or the quantified emission limitation and reduction objectives (QELROs).
They deemed QELROs by Annex I Parties to be "far below what is required by science and their historical responsibility to reduce their emission by at least 25-40% by 2020 from their 1990 levels", according to a joint statement published on the website of the South African Ministry of Environment. Annex I Parties are those industrialized countries and economies in transition that signed the Kyoto Protocol.
The BASIC group also called for Annex I Parties to adopt a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, to be implemented as of 2013.
The Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of 2012, leaving little time to come up with an agreement for a second commitment period.
Warning from Merkel
Merkel admitted in her speech that the failure to agree on a second commitment period to date posed a "great danger" in the interim, putting pressure on the upcoming international climate negotiations summit in Doha, Qatar, to deliver the agreed goals by 2015 and beyond.
She also added that unless industrialized countries acted in the interim, developing countries would rightly read this as a lack of sincerity and scale back their own efforts.
However, Merkel highlighted that even if developed countries pledge to cut carbon emissions to zero, this would not suffice to avert a 2˚C rise in temperatures - putting pressure on developing nations to help achieve the needed level of ambition.
"We need a clear ambition to meet the common goals," she added. While she said that the 2˚C goal reflected a viable level of ambition, she added that current pledges did not suffice to deliver this goal.
The EU's continued inclusion of airlines in its emission trading system was also discussed as ministers reiterated that they were "deeply concerned" by the "unilateral" move, and possibility of more such measures that "violate the multilateral rules based system and adversely affect trust among Parties."
Instead, the developing nations want to see both airline and shipping sectors included in the international 2020 decision making and deals to be struck at Doha.
Ministers from the BASIC group met in Johannesburg, South Africa, last week, while Merkel spoke at Petersberg, Germany, this week.
The next and 12th BASIC Ministerial Meeting is scheduled to take place in Brazil in September and the next Conference of Parties is taking place in Doha in November and December. MLDB
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