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Statement of the Advisor to the President of the RF on climate change at the UN climate talks in Durban

Statement of the Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation,
Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation on Climate Change,

Mr. Alexander Bedritskiy,
to the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC/
7th Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol

Durban, South Africa,
08 December 2011
Madame President,
Secretary General of the United Nations,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Last year in Cancun a package of decisions was adopted, effectively concluding the process of consideration of the Bali Plan of Action and the Kyoto Protocol. An exhaustive list of initiatives was also endorsed, on which decisions were to be later taken in Durban. Today, on the eve of the Conference’s closing, we are recognize significant progress made towards the elaboration of a Durban Plan of Action for the future, but a definitive consensus on the package of decisions is still lacking. We are reaching the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, but we have yet to depict the architecture of multilateral cooperation after 2012.

It is our view that the negotiation process has reached its culmination and that a decision needs to now be taken on the two negotiation tracks.

I would like to note that it was specifically thanks to the Russian Federation that the Protocol originally entered into force in 2005 and that its mechanisms were fully established. We will successfully fulfill our commitments in the first period by 2013.

Notwithstanding, data from the International Energy Agency suggests that 41% of global emissions in 2009 originated from two countries, who are not bound by the Kyoto Protocol. Hence the Kyoto Protocol in its current form (i.e. without the participation of key emitters) neither resolves the problems of global warming, nor ensures meeting the global 2-degree target, nor provides for environmental integrity. For this reason, Russia is not committing to quantitative obligations in the second period of the Kyoto Protocol.

We understand the decision of a number of Annex-I Countries of the UNFCCC to participate in the second commitment period of the KP. We think that negotiations for the Protocol (AWG-KP) should be completed in Durban and that the adoption and ratification of amendments to Annexes A and B should be carried out pursuant to articles 20 and 21 of the KP. It is critical for the success of a future global climate regime to guarantee compliance with all legal procedures established to assess due fulfillment of commitments made under the first period of the KP.

Regarding the other negotiation track, we believe that the mandate of the Bali Plan of Action has been completed and that it is necessary to start implementing the greenhouse-gas reduction pledges made by heads of state and government in 2009 in Copenhagen, reiterated in 2010 in Cancun.

Going forward from Durban, we all need to concentrate on the elaboration of a new global agreement inspired by the outcomes of the two working groups. This means a Road Map with clear deadlines for successive action which must lead to the adoption of a comprehensive climate regime by 2016.

The Russian Federation is committed to achieving a comprehensive, integrated climate arrangement. In our view, the end goal of the negotiation process is a single, universal climate agreement for the post-2012 period, which would include all countries, both developed and developing, particularly the main GHG emitters. Negotiations following Durban should result in a package of decisions with the following key components: the Cancun pledges by developed and developing nations; MRV; adaptation; the Green Fund and technology. Furthermore, vitally important decisions for the new agreement need to be taken in two areas; namely, on a due and comprehensive account of the contributions made by boreal and tropical forests to reducing greenhouse gas emissions; and on renovated flexibility mechanisms, which would correspond to levels of actual commitment fulfillment.

Nonetheless, we intend to proceed after 2012 implementing our commitments to reduce anthropogenic emissions by 15-25% compared to 1990 levels in parallel with the work on elaboration of the global agreement.

International cooperation in the post-Kyoto period must factor in changes in countries’ levels of development. The Russian Federation proposed an amendment to UNFCCC for developing a mechanism for reviewing the list of countries in Annexes I and II to the Convention. Our objective is to facilitate a more appropriate and fairer dispensation of obligations to reduce GHG emissions amongst Parties to the Convention, thus enabling a faster and more efficient realization of the Convention’s goals. We were generally satisfied with the consideration paid here in Durban to this Russian proposal. As a follow up we will press for a decision to be taken on our proposed amendment.

In November 2011, Moscow hosted an International Conference on Adaptation to Climate Change with more than 600 delegates from some 34 countries around the world. The conference participants noted that, in many countries, adaptation to climate change is still not considered to be a national priority. The significance of the problem is widely underestimated. We appeal to countries to implement the WMO’s Global Framework for Climate Services. Long-term adaption cooperation must efficiently utilize existing and emerging institutional bases, particularly those of the specialized agencies of the United Nations.

In conclusion I wish to state Russia’s position on the venue for the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties to be held in 2012. In light of the egregious violation of international law committed by the authorities of Qatar against our ambassador to that country, the Russian Federation opposes holding the next COP in Qatar and advocates holding it in the Republic of Korea, following the country’s most cordial invitation.

I thank you for your attention.