In a move that energized the UN climate talks in Cancun on Monday, for the first time ever, China said it would agree to "binding" carbon reduction agreements. But along with a group of the largest developing economies, China also said it would only agree to do so unless certain "non-negotiable" conditions were met.
Representatives from the "BASIC" group of countries—Brazil, South Africa, India and China—said late on Monday that they would not support a deal until a post-2012 commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol had been settled, a climate change fund had materialized and countries had come to an understanding on technology transfer.
"We are conscious of the need for a substantive outcome, but these three things are non-negotiable," said Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, who chaired a joint press conference with BASIC colleagues on Monday.
China, which made waves on Monday when negotiators said the country would make its 2008 voluntary carbon reductions binding under a U.N. provision, echoed the sentiment.
"We're willing to compromise, we're willing to play a positive and constructive role, but on this issue (Kyoto) there's no room for compromise," said Huang Huikang, the Chinese Foreign Ministry's envoy for climate change talks.
One of the big sticking points for American negotiators has been the reluctance of BASIC countries to agree on the transparency front, a problem that India's Ramesh hoped would be overcome by his proposed verification regime.
Ramesh's proposed MRV-LCA (Measurement, Review and Verification - International Consultation and Analysis) plan would require countries whose emissions are more than 1 percent of the global average to submit to the UN review process every three years, all other countries would be reviewed every six.
Ramesh, who said his "mandate is to play a bridge between US and others," has taken some heat both at home in India as well as from other BASIC member states, namely China, which has yet to sign-on the the verification proposal.
Photo: linh.m.do at flickr