With all key countries discounting the possibility of a complete new global deal on climate change at Cancun, Mexico, in November, US and other rich countries have begun closed-door parleys to instead discuss a brief but game-altering ‘Mexico Mandate’.
There are indications that the ‘Mexico Mandate’ could set new ground rules for crucial negotiations leading to a final new deal by December 2011. The move has not gone down well with the Indian government which sees pitfalls in allowing decisions on issues closer to developed countries’ interests at Cancun while concerns of the South are unresolved.
The mandate could be in form of a series of decisions that all countries accept instead of hammering out a comprehensive new package. The Indian negotiators feel it could force negotiations to depart away from Bali mandate which was concluded after a heated debate in 2009 with developing countries managing to push in concerns of equity and development rights even as US and others fought hard to pin responsibility for mitigation on emerging economies.
Since Bali, negotiations that led up to and after Copenhagen Accord are seen by developing nations, especially BASIC nations — China, India, Brazil, South Africa — as a consistent attempt to reduce differential in responsibilities between rich and poor nations.
With recession having smacked the political will out of Northern countries to take any strong mitigation action and Barack Obama unable to pull off a domestic legislation on greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, Cancun is expected to produce a set of decisions on select issues. The US is seen to push for a decision that sets up strict scrutiny regime monitoring developing nations’ economies while a deal on forestry and technology sharing is seen as sops to poor nations. India so far remains wary of such decisions where key issues of strong mitigation targets by developed countries and their financial commitments under UN Convention remain unresolved.