The BASIC group of countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) came together for the first time after the Copenhagen Climate Summit to send out a strong message to the developed countries.
Doing the unexpected, the BASIC nations - in a meeting on Sunday - promised to put down in writing about exactly how much
they will cut back green house emissions.
"The ministers expressed
their intention to communicate information on their voluntary
mitigation actions to the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC) by January 31, 2010," said Union Minister of
State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh.
be a slap in the face of the developed countries. Frustration comes
from Copenhagen as the rich countries did not come up with cuts, but we
will not cry about that," pointed out Brazil's Environment Minister
The meeting in New Delhi came just days ahead of an earlier deadline set by the United Nations for countries to sign up on the Copenhagen accord reached just last month.
Reports suggest that the deadline has been shifted now as developed nations want more time to decide on how much they were willing to cut back on carbon emissions. The BASIC group and the US were largely responsible for drafting the accord.
India has pledged to cut its carbon intensity by 20-25 per cent by 2020 and China by 40-45 per cent. Now they aim to pressurise developed countries to give honour their commitments.
Put the money on the table if you are serious about climate change - that's the message from the BASIC countries to the developed world. Not just that by announcing their intention to communicate their emission cuts to the UN they are hoping to take the moral high ground in climate negotiations.
But the real surprise came from the Xie Zhenhua, Vice-Chairman, National Development and Reform Commission of China. In the backdrop of the error-ridden report on Himalayan glaciers, Beijing's representative wondered whether global warming was a natural, and not a man-made, phenomenon.
"There have been different views that climate change has been caused by cyclical elements of nature itself. I think we need to adapt and open attitude to scientific research and be open," Zhenhua said.
None of the other BASIC ministers responded, but the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's admission of putting out wrong information on global warming had worried many that it would arm sceptics. Does that now include China, the world's biggest polluter?