The exponential growth in global populations, economic activity and resource utilization means it is becoming increasingly difficult to satisfy global demand for a number of fundamental resources, while some key ecosystems services are under stress. The likelihood of future resource scarcities have begun to influence the positions taken within international climate change negotiations by fast-growing developing countries.

When Brazil, South Africa, India, and China formed the BASIC group it took many by surprise. The coordination needed to align this heterogeneous group of countries cannot simply be understood in terms of a set of shared interests around climate policy. How the BASIC group emerged and the nature of its cooperation on climate change are examined within the broader context in which these increasingly powerful countries came to join forces.

Although they have traditionally aligned themselves with the G77 group of developing countries, their recent strategizing as a group of emerging economies reflects a realization that there are insufficient global resources available to follow the same development pathway as industrialized countries. Hence, they must seek alternative growth pathways, which requires establishing common ground while also keeping track of one another’s positions on important global issues such as climate change.

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