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Emerging economies and climate change: The new geopolitics after Copenhagen

This project took a closer look at the increasingly visible role and importance of the major emerging economies of China, India, Brazil and South Africa and their cooperation within the context of climate diplomacy.


Inactive project


Project contact

Karl Hallding

Project team

Marcus Carson
Marcus Carson

Senior Research Fellow

SEI Headquarters

Marie Jürisoo
Marie Jürisoo

Deputy Director and Operations Director

Global Operations

SEI Headquarters

It sought to better understand the factors that drive the policy approach taken by each of the BASIC countries as well as the United States to climate change, with a particular focus on how these drivers come together at international climate negotiations.

In the wake of the COP15 meeting in Copenhagen in 2009, the large developing economies of China, India, Brazil and South Africa emerged as an important set of actors in climate negotiations, and this so-called BASIC group has since received much attention.

It has become increasingly clear that the way in which the BASIC alliance develops, the degree to which it can (or cannot) coordinate a common platform on climate change and strategic alignment at the international level will have considerable implications for the future of climate negotiations, including the status and utility of the Copenhagen Accord, in contributing to a legally binding international agreement.

Building on the US-China analysis carried out during 2009, this study aimed to understand the factors that drive the negotiating positions taken by the BASIC countries, in order to provide an assessment of the potential ways in which the BASIC countries might condition the possible outcomes from COP16 in Mexico and the role they might play in the lead up to COP17 in South Africa, with particular focus on the relations with EU, the U.S. and the future of the G77.

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