Posted by: Hendra Siry | 3 March, 2010

Indonesia May Join Basic Group On Climate Talks

Indonesia plans to join growing powers Brazil, South Africa, India and China, known as the Basic Group, if it can help bridge the stalled talks on the long-awaited binding treaty on emissions cuts. Agus Purnomo, special assistant to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyuno on climate change affairs, said Monday there had been informal offers from countries such as India for Indonesia to join Basic.

“But, we will first weigh up both the positive and negative impacts before making the decision on whether to join,” Agus told The Jakarta Post on Monday. “We see the four are a group of eminent countries that need to be heard. Their voice is crucial for the success of climate talks.” He said the Indonesian government needed to find out more about the targets and agenda of Basic. “We await a formal invitation to a ministerial meeting in South Africa next month. We want to learn more about their agenda,” he said.

Similar to Indonesia, the  contributions to gloal emissions by Basic countries account for about 30 percent of the global total, and they are currently members of the G77 of developing nations. The G77, which was established in 1964 with about 136 developing and poor nations, has become a powerful lobby group in negotiation forums, including last year’s Copenhagen climate conference.

But in recent years, the differences among G77 members continue to widen on the issues of emissions cuts, mitigation and adaptation. Basic was formed months before last year’s Copenhagen climate talks. The group rejected the draft on the global emission cuts proposed by host country Denmark. The host did not invite G77 members to a closed-door meeting.

Negotiators from 192 countries will meet in Mexico City this year to discuss legally binding emissions cuts targets, which have been rejected by rich nations. Developed countries wanted emerging nations of China, India, Brazil and South Africa to be bound to emissions cuts targets. In Copenhagen, China, India, Brazil and South Africa offered voluntary emissions cuts by 2020.

Aside from formal group of negotiations, Indonesia has also been actively involved in informal meetings, including the G20 major economies forum on energy and climate change and the group of forest nations known as the F11. An expert staffer on international cooperations at the Environment Ministry, Liana Bratasida, also said that India had invited Indonesia to join Basic.

“We have not yet answered the request. We will ask stakeholders in Indonesia before making the decision,” she told the Post on the sideline of a bilateral meeting between Indonesia and India in Bali last week. Former environmental minister Sony Keraf warned the government to be more cautious in considering joining Basic since it could make climate change talks even more difficult to reach consensus. “The G77 is far more concrete if Indonesia wants to strengthen its position in climate talks,” he said. “Indonesia must be careful because it could benefit China and India in its fighting for their interests against the rich nations.”

Source: The Jakarta Post – March 3, 2010
By Adianto P. Simamora and Desy Nurhayati


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