updated 1/24/2010 11:43:07 AM ET 2010-01-24T16:43:07

Brazil, China, India and South Africa called Sunday for developed countries to quickly begin handing over the $10 billion pledged in Copenhagen to poor countries to help them deal with the effects of climate change.

The first funds should go to the least developed countries, including small island states and African countries, said Xie Zhenhua, China's top climate change negotiator after a meeting of the representatives of the four nations in New Delhi.

The four developing world giants — known as BASIC — also said they would their submit plans for combating climate change to the U.N. this week.

At Copenhagen conference, many developed countries had hoped the Kyoto Protocol, which only required emissions cuts of rich countries, would be replaced with an accord that also made demands on developing nations. But instead, President Barack Obama and the BASIC nations brokered a deal — the so-called Copenhagen Accord — requiring poor countries to propose voluntary actions by Jan. 31. That deadline has since been extended.

"We have the obligation to be the first to submit the action plans," South Africa's Environment Minister Buyelwa Sonjica told reporters.

China, the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has already said it would cut its "carbon intensity" — a measure of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of production — by 40 percent to 45 percent by 2020, compared with levels in 2005.

India, the fifth largest polluter, said by 2020 it would cut its carbon intensity by 20 percent to 25 percent. Neither country has accepted a legally binding emissions reduction target.

On Sunday, the group also called on Denmark, chairman of the climate conference, to convene a series of meetings this year to begin discussions on a legally binding climate deal ahead of a conference in Mexico in December, said a joint statement from the countries.

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