With leaders having exited the stage, negotiators at the climate change conference in Paris got down to work on Tuesday, and not surprisingly, began by restating their known positions on the agreement they would like to see coming out of the talks here.
China, speaking on behalf of the BASIC countries comprising India, South Africa, Brazil and itself, set the tone of the day demanding that the developed countries must take ambitious “economy-wide (emission reduction) targets” not just after 2020, but in the pre-2020 period as well. The climate change agreement being negotiated in Paris would come into effect after 2020 when the life of Kyoto Protocol, an existing international treaty on climate change, would come to an end.
China said it was very “concerned” to see the developed countries having ignored their emission reduction targets in the Kyoto Protocol as its successor agreement is being negotiated.
“The second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol (for the period 2012 to 2020) is a very important step and key instrument of the Convention (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC). The agreement being worked out in Paris must not undermine the second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol,” China said at the start of the talks on Tuesday.
China said the BASIC countries would not allow the basic principles and provisions of the Convention (UNFCCC) to be ignored or sidelined, especially those that related to equity and the concept of common but differentiated responsibilities. It also asked the developed countries to deliver on its promise of generating $100 billion every year in climate finance from 2020 and define a clear road map on how this will be done.
While most of the leaders left Paris by midnight or early Tuesday morning, US President Barack Obama stayed back and had a meeting with the group of island countries which are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
This vocal group, which goes under the name of Association of Small Island States, or AOSIS, has been demanding stricter climate action from the rest of the world and insisting that countries must try to keep the rise in global average temperatures within 1.5 degree of pre-industrial times and not 2 degree which most other countries agree on.
More than 150 heads of states and governments had gathered in Paris on Monday in the largest ever congregation of world leaders to give their political backing to the climate change agreement being negotiated, but their statements clearly reflected their country positions and did not any progress on resolving differences on important issues.