The Climate Doctrine lacks concrete measures

The Russian Ministry of Natural Resources published the Report on implementation in 2013 of the comprehensive plan for implementation of the Climate Doctrine of the Russian Federation for the period until 2020. The document covers a range of issues related to climate change. However, according to representatives of environmental organizations, it lacks specificity in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The climate plan was implemented by the Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Roshydromet, Rosleskhoz, Roscosmos, the Russian Emergencies Ministry, Russian Academy of Sciences, and other organizations and agencies. Responsible for implementation of measures note that these issues are closely related to assessment and forecasting national security threats, risks and benefits to the economy.

The Russian Government approved the Comprehensive Plan for implementation of the Climate Doctrine until 2020 two years ago. In the presentation of the last year's report on climate activities, the Ministry of Natural Resources gave figures showing that during implementation of the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol (2008-2012) greenhouse gas emissions decreased as compared with the 1991 by 31 %, while the country's GDP grew by 12 %. It was indicated that these results were achieved through joint implementation projects that provide possibility of transfer or acquisition of emission reduction units. As Russia has claimed no quantitative commitments under the protocol within its second period since 2013, this mechanism was "closed" for Russia.

To promote actions aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the national level, the President has adopted the decree which established a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 to a level not exceeding 75 % of the 1990 emission level. As follows from the new report on implementation of the Climate Doctrine, it is supposed to reach the objectives of emissions reduction set by the President through cross-sectoral strategy.

The main directions of the Draft Plan for 2014-2016 years in this regard are the following: organising works to ensure accounting of emissions at large enterprises, forecast and evaluation of emission reduction potential by sectors of the economy, and development of instruments for state support of project activities and implementation of emission reduction projects. It also assumes development of measures of interoperability with systems for regulation of greenhouse gas emissions in other countries, scenarios of economic regulation of greenhouse gas emissions in the long term, and possible additional measures to limit emissions. Most of these items are scheduled to be completed by 2016.

Among the activities for implementation of the Climate Doctrine of the Russian Federation are development of global and regional climate modeling and assessment of future climate change, research into effects of climate change on the environment and economic activity that functions on the basis of components of the natural complex (agriculture, forestry, water resources, etc.), and theoretical and experimental studies of technological climate stabilization within geoengineering methods (including the method of stratospheric aerosols).

An important point of the document is implementation of measures to reduce market distortions, and measures of financial and tax policies to encourage reduction of anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. A part of these plans is the Sub-program "Development of renewable energy" aimed at ensuring competitiveness, financial sustainability, energy and environmental safety of the Russian energy sector. "Financing the activities shall be implemented within the conditions of public- private partnership, ... it shall also provide budgetary allocations needed to support and promote the implementation of projects for use of renewable energy and cleaner production technologies."

According to the Report on implementation of the Climate Doctrine, Russia soon plans to make changes in the program of social and economic development taking into account climate risks, mitigation of anthropogenic climate impacts, and adaptation to climate change.

The Ministry of Health plans, within the Climate Doctrine, to make efforts to minimize morbidity and mortality due to infectious and parasitic diseases caused by climate change: experts of the Ministry have developed guidelines with assessments of risks and damages from climate change.

The Ministry of Agriculture is also involved in minimizing the risks. The Ministry is developing measures to adapt to climate change, aimed at optimizing crop growing conditions. The measures include the use of more drought-resistant and early maturing varieties, and proper placement of crops in crop rotation.

Traditionally, measures aimed at promotion of energy saving and energy efficiency, efficient use of natural resources and the potential of the energy sector take an important place in Russian climate plans. Special line allocates dissemination of knowledge on energy saving, energy efficiency and renewable energy as a way to solve the problem of human influence on climate. The Ministry of Economic Development of Russia plans to modernize the state information system on energy saving and energy efficiency and integrate it with the state information system of the fuel and energy complex.

Overall, the Report on implementation in 2013 of the comprehensive plan for implementation of the Climate Doctrine of the Russian Federation can be called meaningful, fully covering the problem of climate change. It is noted that implementation of the State program No. 512-p will allow to reduce greenhouse gases by 393 million tons of CO2-eq by 2020.

However, the Report unfortunately hardly reflects the role and activities of the regions. Most importantly, it has no specific figures and indicators on annual volume of greenhouse gas emission reductions. There is a risk that the Climate Doctrine will share the unfortunate fate of the goals for energy saving, which, according to majority of experts, will not be performed as scheduled.
Full text of the report: