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Financial crisis won’t sway BASIC climate group in favor of West, says India’s environment minister

According to reports, the economic slowdown in western countries will not sway the 4-nation BASIC group to change their approach on the proposed Green Climate Fund and other aspects of the climate change agenda, Jayanthi Natarajan, the minister of state for environment and forests said here Tuesday after a ministerial meeting of the group.

“We are painfully conscious to the economic crisis. But I do not believe it will be necessary to change our stand,” she said. The developed countries have pledged to implement the main principals, and there is no justification to change them, the minister told Indian journalists.

It may now take a little longer to implement the principals than was earlier envisaged because many of the developed countries have less money to spare, she said. The developed countries had earlier pledged to provide $100 billion per year by 2020.

There are signs that the coming climate change conference in Durban later this month will allow a little more time to developed countries to come up with the pledged funds without tinkering with the basic principles.

“The Green Climate Fund will have to be there. We want it to be put into operation. Maybe, the developed countries will bring in hundreds of millions instead of hundreds of billions at this time,” JM Mauskar, special secretary in the ministry of environment and forests, said.

Both Natrajan and Bamo Edna Edith Molewa, a minister from South Africa, asserted there were no differences in the group of BASIC countries, which are Brazil, South Africa, India and China. They were responding to reports that South Africa was not fully in agreement with the other three members of the group in all matters.

Representatives of BASIC countries including Xie Zhenhua of China and Francisco Gaetani of Brazil called on the developed countries to accept a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol and implement quantified emission reduction commitments. They also stressed the need to lift restrictions imposed by the European Union on international flights under the EU-ETS.

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