12/09/2015, 00.00
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COP21: for India and China, developed countries have a greater responsibility

The latest draft of the international agreement to cap global warming is set for release today. The BASIC group of nations (Brazil, South Africa, China, India) want rich countries to bear most of the burden. “Any action from developing countries depends on financing and technology support from the developed world. Haves should give to have-nots,” India’s climate change minister said. Meanwhile, Beijing shuts down schools and bans cars on the second day of its red alert.

Paris (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The richest countries must bear the brunt of any future agreement on climate change, whilst developing nations should be treated with different criteria, this according to a group of four large newly industrialised countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China – called the BASIC countries.

The four nations reiterated that principle at the UN Climate Change Conference  (COP21) currently underway in Paris on the day the president of the conference, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, presented the first draft on an agreement.

For the BASIC countries, any new Paris agreement on tackling climate change after 2020 should not “rewrite” the principle enshrined in the 1992 climate convention: differentiation between the responsibilities of industrialised and developing nations.

“Any action from developing countries depends on financing and technology support from the developed world. Haves should give to have-nots. That’s simple logic,” said Prakash Javadekar, India’s climate change minister.

“There must be no diluting of this [differentiation] principle,” he added. “The new agreement must make these principles effectively operational.”

When Indian Prime Minister Modi visited Paris on 1 December, he stressed that India still needed conventional energy (such as coal) and could not “afford" not to increase its use.

For his part, China’s special climate change representative Xie Zhenhua rejected the United States suggestion that a financial transparency system to tackle climate change should apply to all countries and not just the richer ones.

Xie said that any funding offered by developing nations should only be offered on a voluntary basis.

The attitudes expressed by the BASIC group thus runs the risk of limiting the responsibility of the main emitters.

Meanwhile, the concentration of the most dangerous particulates - the microscopic PM2.5 particles – reached 317 µg/cm3 in Beijing. For the first time in history, the Chinese capital yesterday declared a ‘red alert’, the highest level under its four-level pollution alert.

To cut emissions, the authorities curbed industrial activities, banned the use of private cars, ordered the closure of primary and secondary schools, and banned outdoor activities for colleges and universities.

A survey by the Pew Research Center found that, despite Beijing’s dangerous situation, only 18 per cent of Chinese consider the issue of climate change discussed at COP21 important.

Recently, PM2.5 levels reached 500 µg/cm3 in the Indian capital of Delhi without triggering any alarm.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the official safe limit is PM2.5 25 µg/cm3.

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