The lexicon of climate change negotiations is always full of alphabet soup – the UNFCCC, GHGs, AWG-KP, AWG-LCA – the list is endless, particularly in reference to negotiation blocs, which can be as simple as G77 & China, EU-27, BASIC, BRIC, etc. etc.

While negotiation blocs have traditionally been defined in terms of economic development, it is surprising that a new coalition of countries has come together based on “common interests and priorities” (see the press release from their first meeting in Beijing Oct. 18 and 19):

They noted the increase in extreme weather events, including heavy rainfalls, extensive floods, storms and hurricanes which have adversely affected their own countries as well as others, and that these recent events underscore the need for global cooperation and action on climate change. They also emphasized that for developing countries the problem of Climate Change goes beyond issues of environmental sustainability as it also directly impacts on their survival and development aspirations.

Called the group of ‘Like Minded Developing Countries’ (LMDCs), this group stressed that they are part of and “is anchored firmly” in the G77 & China, which is comprised of 133 developing countries.  The group that met in Beijing includes Bolivia, China, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Venezuela.  The group has its origins in previous UN climate meetings in Bonn and Bangkok earlier this year and includes around 20 or so other countries, although it’s not clear which countries these are.  It is interesting to note that Brazil, South Africa, and Russia didn’t attend the Beijing meeting, although these countries often negotiate together with China and India in the BASIC and BRIC groups.

According to the latest IEA CO2 emission data for 2010, the LMDCs that met in Beijing account for around 34 percent of global emissions. Above is a look at the World Resources Institute’s climate emissions data in Google’s Public Data Explorer. I also made the chart below to show the relative 2010 CO2 emissions from these LMDCs, although it’s easier to visualize on a logarithmic scale, this chart also shows the dramatic difference between China’s emissions and everyone else’s.

Source: International Energy Agency (IEA), 2012.

Source: International Energy Agency (IEA), 2012.

Will this new bloc present a possibility for breaking through some of the old deadlock between developed and developing countries that has stymied previous climate negotiations?  Stay tuned … I’ll be in Doha for the next round of climate negotiations and will be looking out to see whether this bloc will meet separately from the G77 & China and whether they’ll make a splash there.