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Srivatsan asked : Why should India collaborate with China in international climate change negotiations? Why should China be included in global south?

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  • Jagannath P. Panda replies: Like India, China has been of the view that there should be special categories to address the challenges of climate change in accordance with the interests and domestic priorities of the developing world. For example, taking the support of developing countries at the 2012 UN Climate Change Conference in Doha, the head of the Chinese delegation, Xie Zhenhua, had stated: ‘climate change has emerged as a challenge basically due to unrestricted emissions by developed countries in their process of industrialisation, and developing countries remain the victims of climate change negotiation process’. Moreover, China has officially noted that it continues to help the developing countries to deal with the challenges of climate challenge, and that Beijing has earmarked $200 million in this regard. Also, China has financed climate change programmes in Africa, including in some least developed and small island countries; and, it has tried to bring a ‘South-South’ outlook in its stance on meeting the challenges posed by climate change.

    China to date remains the largest emitter of CO2 in the world and causes almost a quarter of the current global greenhouse gas emissions. Among the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China & South Africa - India stands next to China as a leading emitter of CO2. BRICS, thus, is one forum where India must cooperate with China in climate change negotiations. Besides, China is also a member of BASIC along with Brazil, South Africa and India, where climate change issues are debated and addressed in an open manner. BASIC was created in December 2009 at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) during the COP15 in Copenhagen. The politics just before the COP15 sufficiently indicated that developed countries would not initiate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions if developing countries fail to do so, pointing mainly towards the two largest emitters from the developing world- China and India. Though in principle the BASIC countries agreed to carry forward climate change negotiations under the framework of the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol and the Bali Roadmap, they realised that there has to be a greater understanding on the issue among the BASIC countries, making China-India cooperation a crucial one in this regard.

    Overall, both BRICS and BASIC justify the ‘South-South’ bonding to an extent, and offer a greater scope for cooperation in the ‘developing world’ on the issue of climate change. Therefore, India and China must cooperate in multilateral forums on climate change negotiations.