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India, China take an early lead at UN climate talks in Germany

Negotiators from 195 countries at Bonn are in the early stages of putting together a draft of a UN agreement that will guide climate change actions over the next decades

Nitin Sethi  |  New Delhi 

Breaking from the past, the Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC), which includes and China, presented the first draft for negotiating the 2015 global climate treaty, grabbing the early mover's advantage at the talks that began in Bonn, Germany on Wednesday.

Negotiators from 195 countries at Bonn are in the early stages of putting together a draft of a UN agreement that will guide climate change actions over the next decades. The draft would include climate change action that must be taken between now and 2020 and then to decide a regime of apportioning obligations across countries in the after 2020.

The group, which also has Malaysia, Argentina, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Venezuela, Philippines and Saudi Arabia, beside and China, has become an influential force in the talks over three years.

The group took the lead in proposing the draft of the agreement to be signed in 2015. The move came after it expressed unhappiness with imbalance in the elements of such an agreement that the co-chairs of the negotiations had prepared in advance.

The draft laid heavy emphasis on an element of India's concern in the negotiations operationalising the principle of equity in the new agreement. This entails distributing the economic burden of costly climate change action across countries based on not only future emissions and economic status of the country but also accounting for the emissions accumulated over the past two centuries, mostly from the developed countries.

"We must try to lay out the frame for the new agreement in advance to keep our issues on the table. Our past experience shows that others come up with the text and we are left to only react and negotiate against that as the base document," said a negotiator from one of the LMDC, speaking to Business Standard from Bonn on condition of anonymity.

Developed countries are keen to break the existing divide in apportioning responsibility between developed and developing countries under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in the new agreement. But, developing countries continue to highlight the earlier decisions that the new 2015 pact would also be set under the principles of existing UN convention.

The negotiation decisions are meant to be taken by consensus and to originate from the submissions of all countries. But in the recent few years, this convention has been broken on critical occasions and developing countries have often complained of being caught unawares of the text in the decisions being gavelled.

Meena Raman, an official observer of the Third World Network at the climate talks, noted that the had proposed the ideas of the co-chairs were informal and could not be the basis of a draft text of the new agreement. Several developed countries urged that the co-chairs be left to draw up such a text.

The elected co-chairs of these negotiations are Kishan Kumarsingh from Trinidad and Tobago, and Artur Runge-Metzger from the

First Published: Fri, June 06 2014. 00:45 IST