by Jake Schmidt
Ministers from four of the major emerging economies – Brazil, South Africa, India, and China (the “BASIC” group) – met over the weekend and through Monday to discuss the next steps in international efforts to address global warming. These four countries played a critical role in Copenhagen and collectively account for around 30% of the world’s global warming pollution* so they are critical players in addressing this challenge. And each of them have made commitments as a part of the Copenhagen Accord to reduce their emissions and are implementing policies to achieve those goals (as I discussed here).
So when these four countries meet, we pay very close intention to both the spirit and words of their joint statements. And their statement from this weekend provides us with some insights on where they think things should head internationally (full text available here). Here are some insights that I drew that were new (or at least reaffirmed more firmly by putting pen to paper on that issue).
They want an internationally legally binding agreement (and one that applies to them as well). Coming out of Copenhagen, there was some uncertainty in the minds of some commentators and countries regarding whether the major emerging economies really wanted an international legally binding agreement. Some perceived that these countries only want a legally binding agreement if it applies to the developed countries (and not to developing countries). While they didn’t completely clarify what they mean by “legally binding” (a critical point) these countries did confirm that they do indeed want a “legally binding agreement”. Continued...