The issue of climate change has literally hijacked the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) here, with every other global issue being put on the backburner.
It began with the sudden and mysterious arrival of French President Nicholas Sarkozy here, and from then on, the inaugural ceremony onwards, every speech, meeting and discussion has focussed on the upcoming climate change summit in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Indian Government officials have gone into a huddle to work on the issue with the muddying of waters, which has taken place in the past 48 hours.
According to reports coming out of China, the IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) and China have agreed on a strategy that involves jointly walking out of the Copenhagen conference if developed nations try to force their own terms on the developing world.
The new term coined by this grouping is BASIC, to include China. Asper the BASIC draft, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol should continue to have an effect and rich countries should assume the responsibility to cut emissions in accordance with the target set for the second commitment period that commences from 2013.
"The outcome of the summit should include long-term cooperative actions on climate change, mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, adaptation to the impacts of climate change, as well as provision of financial and technological support," said the representatives in a statement.
BASIC countries perceive Denmark as the villain of the piece. Yesterday, Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen of Denmark all but issued a threat to Commonwealth leaders to just arrive in Copenhagen next month and sign on the dotted line.
A draft prepared by Denmark, which has the OK of the rich countries, including the United States and several European nations, will be presented at the conference.
And, throwing the gauntlet at the same time will be the BASIC nations whose draft plan is an odd and unexpected development for the rich nations.
The battle lines appear to have been already drawn. At the CHOGM, the mood is tense, bordering on defiance.
Meanwhile, in a very smart move, French President Sarkozy, who met the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here yesterday, urged Dr. Singh to participate in the Climate Change Summit to be held next month in Copenhagen.
"We want India's voice to be heard at this international meeting," Sarkozy said yesterday here at the CHOGM.
But what he probably didn't expect or doesn't want, either way, is China and India to join hands against the Denmark-led grouping.
Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed said today that Commonwealth leaders would lobby for an international climate deal that includes 10 billion dollars for next year to help poor and vulnerable states to fight the effects of global warming.
Nearly half of the Commonwealth's members are small island states like Maldives, which are directly threatened by rising sea levels caused by global warming, and developing nations which are appealing for financial aid from the rich governments to help them counter climate change and reduce carbon pollution.
This plan has the backing of British premier Gordon Brown and French President Nicholas Sarkozy.