News / Africa

Environmental Groups Praise BASIC Meeting on Climate Change

TEXT SIZE - +

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

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid