FE Editorial: Basic commitments

Written by The Financial Express | Updated: Jan 27 2010, 04:37am hrs
The BASIC blocBrazil, South Africa, India and Chinawas at the heart of the Copenhagen accord. Its ministers met in New Delhi over the weekend and issued a joint statement flagging 1) theirs is not just a forum for negotiation but also for cooperating on mitigation and adaptation, 2) they will work closely with other members of G-77+China to ensure ambitious and equitable outcomes in Mexico, 3) they have already announced voluntary mitigation actions for 2020 but will communicate the same to UNFCCC by January 31 as they had committed at Copenhagen, and 4) developed countries should not delay delivery of the $10 billion pledged to help the least developed countries, small island developing states and African countries. What do we take forward from this meeting There has been no movement either on the standoff between developed and developing countries, or on BASICs solidarity. But whats being indicated now is that this bloc may be willing to pick up the slack of which the developed countries stand accused. Indian minister of forests and environment said BASIC was discussing how to provide technological support to least developed countries, even as it decided how to deepen cooperation on science, forestry management and other forms of mitigation action between member countries. The fate of the Copenhagen accord also seems clearer now: there is little likelihood of its being built up into a legal document.

It was Rameshs comments on the sidelines of the BASIC meet that were quite interesting. In a wide-ranging interview with FE, which was published yesterday, the minister made the point that Indias thinking on climate change has hitherto been dictated by international negotiations. The corollary effect of the fact that we have not had a strategic domestic agenda has been that investments in green technology havent received the kind of intense attention thats observed in China. Yet, some of the greatest business opportunities of today and tomorrow lie in green businesses. And there is no reason why a country that came from nowhere to take global IT by storm cant do the same in green technology. Whats necessary is a change of mindset, both at the level of policy and entrepreneurship. As an incentive, a recently released UN report on the global green new deal estimates that investing just 1% of current global GDP in environment-friendly initiatives could spur significant returns ranging from stimulating innovation and job growth to making strides towards curbing poverty. South Korea, by the way, is setting aside nearly $40 billionor 3% of its GDPtowards its green new deal that could generate almost one million new jobs.