Pushing back on the continued demands for more aggressive climate actions by developing countries, the BASIC group, comprising India, China, Brazil and South Africa, has called out the double standards of developed countries, pointing out that they had not fulfilled even their basic requirements on mitigation, finance and technology transfer.
“There has been backtracking on finance and mitigation commitments and pledges by developed countries. 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 BASIC countries said in a statement.
Developed countries are still not showing leadership or responding with a matching progression of effort on mitigation or finance, they added.
Ministers of the four countries met on Tuesday evening to decide on common positions on the main pending issues, as the negotiations move into the last leg at the Sharm el-Shaikh climate conference. Indian minister Bhupendra Yadav said developed countries were only making promises and not following these up with actions.
“We must once again impress on our developed country partners that actions are the key and not mere promises. One pledge after another, with several such pledges per COP, is not necessarily fruitful. Measuring progress through actions that then lead to direct emission reductions – this is what the developed countries ought to demonstrate to the world,” he said in his intervention at the BASIC meeting.
He also reiterated India’s demand that all fossil fuels needed to be phased down, not just coal which was being targeted by the developed countries.
“In climate action, no sector, no fuel source and no gas should be singled out for action. In the spirit of the Paris Agreement, countries will do what is suitable as per their national circumstances,” he added.
Yadav also stressed that ‘just transition’ to cleaner sources of energy did not mean that all countries should strive for the same level of decarbonisation. “For India, just transition means the 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,” he said.
The BASIC countries also expressed their deep concern over the continuing failure of the developed countries to provide adequate levels of finance, particularly for adaptation efforts.
“Ministers are concerned 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,” the BASIC group statement said.
“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. Finance to developing countries is also increasingly with unilateral conditionalities and eligibility criteria, predominantly in the form of loans rather than grants, aggravating the financial constraints faced by developing countries,” it said.
The new amount for climate finance, being discussed for the period beyond 2025, must therefore be substantially higher than USD 100 billion, with a greater share coming from public funds, and should be allocated equally to both mitigation and adaptation, it said, adding that a clear roadmap for discussions on this subject in 2023 must be agreed upon in the decisions at this climate conference.
The BASIC group also called for a “fundamental transformation and modernisation” of the global financial architecture, including reforms of the multilateral development banks, to equip them to provide more generous funding for climate-sensitive projects.
“The key is to address risk aversion in investing in developing countries, to prioritise grant support and to dramatically lower the cost and conditionality on borrowing money that places multilateral support out of reach of the majority of the world’s population, including in the BASIC countries,” the group’s statement added.