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Willing Power, Fearing Responsibilities: BASIC in the Climate Negotiations

Anne-Sophie Tabau, Marion Lemoine


This paper considers the rise of the BASIC bloc of emerging economies (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) and its influence in pursuing the adoption of an international agreement on climate change acceptable for all countries. It first questions the mere existence of BASIC as a negotiation group. Indeed, whereas the BASIC bloc is now a reality, BASIC countries do not formally want to be distinguished from the Global South. The study tries to explain this equivocal matter of fact by decoding the perimeter and dynamics of BASIC. It also analyses what would be a balanced outcome of climate change negotiations from BASIC’s point of view, through the three challenges any future agreement will have to take up, namely legitimacy, equity and effectiveness. It appears that BASIC may be considered in a transitive phase regarding the climate change issue. BASIC countries seem to want more power but to fear responsibilities. Therefore, they find it much more comfortable to experience their evolving status as parts of a group of other growing actors of international climate negotiations.


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