02 November 2011 Beijing (China Daily) --- Climate-change ministers from Brazil, South Africa, India and China, also known as the BASIC countries, have reached a consensus on a range of issues - including the Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol - a month in advance of a conference in Durban, South Africa.
"There must be a Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol," said Xie Zhenhua, China's top climate change official, after the Ninth BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change in Beijing on Tuesday.
"Countries should take action and put their promises into practice before 2020 and then further discuss the issues after that date on the basis of scientific analysis," Xie said.
The extension of the Kyoto Protocol became a major focus of climate change negotiations after some countries opposed the Second Commitment Period at talks in Cancun, Mexico, in 2010.
According to the protocol, developed countries are subject to binding targets on greenhouse gas emissions, while developing economies make their cuts on a voluntary basis. Japan, Russia and Canada have rejected an extension of the Kyoto agreement.
Xie said all countries are able to make proposals and suggestions, according to the principles of openness and transparency at the talks, but that all decisions should be based on the common understandings that the countries have reached in the past 20 years and the principles of equal, common, but differentiated, responsibility.
There is disagreement among the parties on whether or not to replace the Second Commitment of the Kyoto Protocol with a new protocol, a new instrument or a new system, said Alf Wills, South Africa's Conference of the Parties chief negotiator.
"What we hope to achieve, I think, is a common goal of all the BASIC countries and we hope to achieve a Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol," said Wills.
"It's the view of the BASIC countries that the rule-based system of the Kyoto Protocol provides the benchmark and the cornerstone for the future of a climate change regime or system that we would want to see," said Wills.
"We believe very strongly that there should be an extension of the Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol," said Jayanthi Natarajan, the minister of state, environment and forests of India.
Ministers agreed that the Durban talks should achieve a comprehensive, fair and balanced outcome, according to a joint statement from the BASIC countries.
A Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol is the "essential priority" for the success of the Durban conference, the statement said.
The ministers emphasized that financing will be another pressing priority in the negotiations when they meet in Durban.
They agreed that the conference should decide to initiate the operation of the Green Climate Fund, thereby ensuring adequate financial support for developing countries, and they urged the developed countries to capitalize the fund from their public resources.
The developed countries have already committed to provide a combined $30 billion as "fast-start" funding for the project and then to increase that figure to $100 billion annually between 2013 and 2020 to avoid a funding gap.