China and allies challenge UN chief’s climate vision

(Climate Change News, 15 Aug 2019) ‘Basic’ environment ministers stress the responsibility of rich countries, in draft declaration that ignores António Guterres’ call for more ambitious national plans.

Emerging economies are calling on rich countries to meet their pre-2020 climate targets and ramp up climate finance, at a meeting in Brasilia.

Environment ministers from Brazil, South Africa, India and China (Basic) put the onus on industrialised nations to lead carbon-cutting efforts, in a draft declaration seen by Climate Home News. Observers did not expect the content to change significantly before the statement is finalised on Friday.

In a pointed message to UN chief António Guterres, they wrote that the climate summit he is hosting in New York next month “should be fully respectful of the principles and provisions of the [UN climate convention]”. That is code for countries with bigger historic emissions and more money shouldering greater responsibility for action.

The statement does not answer Guterres’ call for national plans to go carbon neutral by 2050 and new coal plants to be banned from 2020 – asks that just a handful of countries are prepared to deliver.

Instead, Basic ministers “look forward” to “positive outcomes for pre-2020 ambition and implementation support for developing countries”. Under UN agreements, pre-2020 climate commitments and finance obligations only apply to developed countries.

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Climate Change News, 15 Aug 2019: China and allies challenge UN chief’s climate vision