News / Africa

Environmental Groups Praise BASIC Meeting on Climate Change

Environmental groups are giving qualified praise to a conference on climate change by four major nations in the developing world.  During a meeting in South Africa, they made recommendations aimed at boosting talks on reducing carbon emissions. 

Activists have welcomed the call by Brazil, South Africa, India and China, known as the BASIC countries, for a global, legally binding agreement on climate change by the end of next year.

A political advisor for Greenpeace Africa, Themba Linden, said the meeting in Cape Town was a positive development, after the near-failure of the U.N. climate change conference last December in Copenhagen.

"There is momentum coming out of these countries after what was essentially an almost collapsed negotiation in Copenhagen," he said. "And certainly the whole approach of the BASIC countries since Copenhagen has been one of trying to create more opportunities for discussion and essential speeding up the whole schedule."

The Copenhagen Conference was widely criticized for failing to produce a treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

A small group of nations led by the United States eventually drafted a last-minute accord that has been endorsed by 120 governments, but is still viewed by many as insufficient.

Linden said especially helpful was China's new willingness to back legally binding emission reductions, which it had previously opposed.

"China openly calling for a legally binding agreement, this is awesome progress, definitely," he said.  "And also Greenpeace Africa is very happy with the continued concern shown by these ministers for vulnerable countries."

He noted that the emerging economies of the BASIC countries are now responsible for about 30 percent of carbon emissions worldwide.  Yet, as developing nations, they are in a good position to defend and bring the least wealthy nations back into the negotiations after they were largely sidelined in Copenhagen.

South Africa's Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica, speaking at the end of the Cape Town meeting, urged industrialized nations to fulfill short and medium-term financing commitments to the most vulnerable nations as agreed in Copenhagen.

"The commitments to provide finance must be operationalized, both the $30 billion for 2010-2012 and the $100 billion annually by 2020 should be provided by developed countries," he said.

The least wealthy countries, many of which are highly vulnerable to climate change, are concerned that industrialized nations will take funds from existing poverty-alleviation programs to fulfill their short-term pledges on climate change.  They want additional funds for their emission reduction efforts

Linden said the issue of short-term financing could be one of the breakthroughs that are needed to rebuild trust between the various parties.

He welcomed the pledge by BASIC countries to help the most vulnerable nations implement emission reduction programs, but noted the pledge is vague.

"We think the BASIC countries have covered a lot of points in this meeting quite clearly," said Linden. "But we desperately need more detail.  We are still lacking detail on how they are going to translate this into action."

Activists note that BASIC countries have scheduled two more meetings prior to the next global conference in Cancun, Mexico, this December.  They say this might provide the momentum needed for a successful conference.

But they say a large gulf remains between the various positions on emission reductions and as a result many are looking more realistically to the conference next year in South Africa for the accord, which they say the world so desperately needs.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' at 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid