BASIC countries call out rich nations' 'double standards' at UN climate summit
Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav with members of BASIC countries

New Delhi: The BASIC group, comprising India, China, Brazil and South Africa, has called out rich nations’ “double standards” at the UN climate summit in Egypt, saying they have backtracked on their commitment to provide finance to developing countries to fight climate change and have increased consumption and production of fossil fuels instead.

“BASIC countries are gravely concerned that developed countries are still not showing leadership or responding with a matching progression of effort. There has been backtracking on finance and mitigation commitments and pledges by developed countries,” the four countries said in a joint statement.

“There has also been a significant increase in the consumption and production of fossil fuels in the past year by developed countries, even as they continue to press developing countries to move away from the same resources. Such double standards are incompatible with climate equity and justice,” the statement said.

The ministers of BASIC countries met on the sidelines of COP27 on Tuesday as the negotiations enter the final phase.

They expressed concern that climate finance provided by developed countries continues to fall short of the USD 100 billion per year commitment, as it has every year since the goal was set in 2009, and despite the deep regret expressed at COP26 last year.

“This is despite the USD 100 billion being only a tiny fraction of the financing which will be necessary for an economy-wide transformation and to meet the needs and priorities of developing countries. Developing countries, and especially the BASIC countries, have to channel many times this amount of financing from their domestic resources or from commercial loans and developing countries cannot afford to transform their economies without assistance,” the statement said.

Participating in the meeting, Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said no sector or fuel source should be singled out for action in the fight against climate change.

“In the spirit of the Paris Agreement, countries will do what is suitable as per their national circumstances,” he said.

India had proposed on Saturday that the talks wrap up with a decision to “phase down” all fossil fuel, a call that received support from the European Union on Tuesday.

The minister added that developing countries should be provided their fair share of the full carbon budget and it can be done by “monetising the carbon debt of the developed countries”.

India also clarified that just transition cannot mean de-carbonisation for all countries.
Yadav’s remark came hours after the US, Japan and other countries pledged to mobilise USD 20 billion to help Indonesia, the world’s fifth-largest greenhouse gas emitter, to move away from coal and accelerate efforts in the renewable energy sector.

The deal, formally known as a Just Energy Transition Partnership, was unveiled at the Group of 20 leaders summit in Bali, Indonesia.

“For India, just transition means transition to a low-carbon development strategy over a time scale that ensures food and energy security, growth and employment, leaving no one behind in the process,” Yadav said.

“Any partnership with developed countries, in our view, must be based on these considerations,” he said.

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