BASIC countries stress need to achieve climate goals of Paris Agreement

Environment ministers of the BASIC group of countries comprising Brazil, South Africa, India and China have stressed the need for fulfilling the climate action goals of the Paris Agreement before setting fresh goals for carbon reduction.

In a joint statement issued at the 25th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) on Wednesday, the ministers stressed that this achievement will be defended and built upon and called upon the international community to focus on the comprehensive and faithful implementation of the Paris Agreement. 
Such implementation must be in accordance with the Convention’s goals and principles, including the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances, they stressed.
Ministers underscored the importance of concluding the discussions on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, in accordance with the mandates and principles set out in the agreement and the accompanying decision, including ensuring environmental integrity. 
They emphasised the importance of keeping a balance of the mechanisms under Article 6.2 and Article 6.4, that share of proceeds should be collected under both Article 6.2 and Article 6.4, to contribute to Adaptation Fund. A decision on Article 6, including its governance and a smooth transition from the Clean Development Mechanism, would preserve the integrity and credibility of the multilateral system and send a strong message to the private sector on their engagement and crucial role in achieving the objectives of the agreement. Any unilateral measures and discriminatory practices that could result in market distortion and aggravate trust deficit amongst Parties must be avoided, they stated.
Recalling that the Paris Agreement represents a delicate political balance negotiated amongst 195 Parties with diverse levels of development and distinct national circumstances, the ministers expressed grave concern regarding the current imbalance in the negotiations. They noted the lack of progress on the pre-2020 agenda, adaptation and issues related to means of implementation support, in the form of climate finance, technology transfer and capacity building support, which is essential to empower developing countries to contribute to the collective response to climate change. This imbalance needs to be immediately rectified, in the interests of a successful conference outcome and achieving the global goals in the Paris Agreement.
Ministers reiterated that ambition of parties is measured by the implementation of its commitments and that commitments made by developed countries in the pre-2020 period must be honoured and that the completion of the pre-2020 agenda is of critical importance in building the basis for mutual trust and ambition in the post-2020 period. 
The pre-2020 gaps with regard to mitigation, adaptation, means of implementation and reporting by developed countries must be assessed and closed, without transferring any burden to developing countries. The pre-2020 agenda will be concluded when the pre-2020 ambition gaps have been closed and not at the end of this conference. The ambitious implementation of developed countries’ commitments to provide support to developing countries is a precondition to any discussion on progression of current commitments.
Ministers underscored that the periodic review of the long-term global goal under the Convention and of overall progress towards achieving it, is a mechanism with clear mandates under the UNFCCC and an important process that reaffirms the Convention as the preeminent international forum for addressing climate change. 
Ministers highlighted that BASIC countries are implementing ambitious climate actions based on their national circumstances and have achieved great progress, contributing significantly to global efforts in combating climate change. This is notwithstanding the insufficient and uneven progress of their domestic development and the multiple challenges all BASIC countries face, including in poverty eradication and achieving socio-economic development and environment protection. 
In 2018, China reduced carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 45.8 per cent from 2005 levels, as well as increased the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to 14.3 per cent. South Africa has recently implemented a carbon tax and announced a massive renewable energy programme in its latest electricity plan. India has already achieved a 21 per cent reduction in emission intensity of GDP in 2014 compared to 2005 levels, thereby achieving its pre-2020 voluntary target. 
In 2015, Brazil achieved a 58 per cent emission reduction relative to the business as usual scenario set for its NAMAs, thereby overachieving its target of 36-39 per cent reductions set for 2020. BASIC countries have already set forth climate policies and contributions reflecting our highest possible ambition, above and beyond our historical responsibilities. The time for action is now, and not next year or thereafter.
Ministers underlined that COP25 should achieve outcomes as follows:
  • Conclude the negotiations related to article 6 of the Paris Agreement;
  • Mandate a 2-year work programme under SBI to assess the pre-2020 progress and gaps, with a view to making the necessary arrangements to fill those gaps;
  • Urge developed countries to fulfil their commitments on providing finance, technology development and transfer and capacity-building support to developing countries; and
  • Interpret and implement the provisions of the Paris Agreement in a holistic and faithful manner.