UNFCCC Current Affairs - 2019

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28th BASIC Ministerial meeting on Climate Change held in Brazil

BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) held their 28th Ministerial meeting on Climate Change recently in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It was held in the run-up to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) Conference of Parties (COP-25) meet scheduled to be held in December 2019. In this meeting, India was represented by Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar.

Key highlights of meeting

BASIC countries expressed concern about climate change and its adverse effects and reaffirmed their commitment to successful implementation of UNFCCC, its Kyoto Protocol and its Paris Agreement, based on recognition of the needs and special circumstances of developing countries and in accordance with principles of Equity and Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC) in light of different national circumstances.

They jointly urged developed countries to fulfill their climate finance commitments of mobilizing $100 billion annually by 2020 for developing countries. The called for responsible, comprehensive, urgent and ambitious actions against climate change, including in the urban environment.

They reiterated to work together ahead of the United Nations Session on Climate Change and the next Conference of Parties (CoP25) in Chile. It was also decided that China will host the next meeting of the BASIC Ministers.

About BASIC

It is geopolitical alliance (bloc) of four advanced developing countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China. It was established by agreement in 2009. These four countries collectively account for one-third of world’s geographical area and nearly 40% of world’s population.

BASIC countries broadly have common position on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and raising the massive funds that are needed to fight climate change. Since 2009, they have cooperated in international climate negotiations, reflecting their aspiration to have a larger say in global politics.

Mandate: These four countries as single bloc are committed to act jointly at Copenhagen climate summit, including possible united walk-out if their common minimum position was not met by the developed nations. They are collectively working to define common position on emission reductions and climate aid money and try to convince other countries to sign up to Copenhagen Accord.

COP24 IN KATOWICE: Main Outcomes

The 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference that took place between 2 and 15 December 2018 in Katowice, Poland, is the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24). It is also referred to as the Katowice Climate Change Conference or Katowice Climate Talks.  The most important outcome of COP24 was that the countries have agreed on rules for the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Main Outcomes of COP 24 in Katowice:

  • The participating nations agreed on the rules to implement the Paris Agreement that will come into effect in 2020. The rules are regarding how the member nations will measure the carbon-emissions and report on their emissions-cutting efforts. This ‘rulebook’ can be called as the detailed “operating manual” of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
  • The members of the conference did not agree to “welcome” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on 1.5°C. The US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait refused to “welcome” the IPCC report.
  • The parties to the conference agreed to record the pledges in a public registry, as per the existing interim portal. The public registry will continue to include a search function, although many attempts have been made to get it deleted.
  • It was also agreed among the members that future pledges should cover a “common timeframe” from 2031. The number of years for the timeframe will be decided later.

Many difficult matters could not reach an agreement and have been postponed to next year for resolution. This includes questions such as ways to scale up existing commitments on emission reduction, different ways of providing financial aid to the poor nations, wording that prevents double counting and whether member nations are doing enough to cut their respective emissions.