Brazil, South Africa, India and China said Saturday that November’s UN climate talks should aim to extend the Kyoto Protocol, the only binding global deal to cut greenhouse gases.
The four key emerging powers — seen as critical to the success of any future effort to combat climate change — said keeping Kyoto alive should be the “central priority” at the key UN summit in South Africa.
The bloc released the statement after two days of talks in southeast Brazil to prepare for the next UN climate conference scheduled to take place in Durban from November 28 to December 9.
The ministers “reaffirmed that the Kyoto Protocol is a cornerstone of the climate change regime,” it said.
Xie Zhenhua, a top Chinese climate change official, said he hoped the statement would “send a sign to the international community that we are pursuing efforts to make the Durban conference a success.”
The four countries also said they hoped ministers gathered in Durban would work to get the Green Climate Fund — which aims to channel billions of dollars in aid to poor countries exposed to climate change — off the ground.
The Durban meeting is seen as the last chance to renew the Kyoto Protocol, whose initial five-year commitment period, covering 37 industrialized countries, expires at the end of 2012.
Its future is uncertain because China and the United States, the world’s top two polluters, are not subject to its constraints.
Japan, Canada and Russia have all rejected a new round of carbon-cutting commitments, and the United States and the European Union have already said there is zero chance of reaching a binding emissions deal in Durban.
Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said Friday that the four emerging market countries have “done a lot to combat climate change and presented ambitious objectives.”
“We demand that industrialized countries set more meaningful objectives toward CO2 reductions than what they have presented up to now,” he said.
South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and India’s deputy environment minister J.M. Mauskar also participated in the meeting at Inhotim.