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In the targets, presented to UNFCCC, Russia has weakened commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared with figures announced by President in Copenhagen

Rashid Alimov
Russia officially declared plan to reduce emissions by 15-25% from the 1990 level, but the concrete level depends on whether Russian forests would be taken in consideration as emission absorbers, and whether all major emitters of greenhouse gases commit to emission reductions.

This statement was made in a letter dated January 29, sent to the Executive Secretary of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Yvo de Boer. The letter was signed by Alexander Frolov, the acting head of Russian Hydromet.
55 countries have sent their commitments to the UNFCCC in accordance with the Copenhagen Accord. These countries together account for 78 percent of global emissions. Numerical obligations and countries’ comments published on the http://unfccc.int/home/items/5264.php.

RSEU believes that Russia's commitments could be more ambitious. Targgets presented to UNFCCC are the setback compared to the figures announced in December by President Medvedev during a conference in Copenhagen.

RSEU believes that even the goal of reducing emissions by 25% - is more than a modest landmark, which our country can proceed without special measures. This RSEU agrees that Russia's boreal forest should be reflected in the future climate agreement along with tropical forests, and they should be given considerable attention, as the largest natural carbon absorbers. But when Russia sets a 15-25% reduction of emissions from 1990 levels in dependence with forests and the major emitters, this position puts into question the statement made by President Medvedev in Copenhagen. He said, that Russia would reduce emissions, ”even regardless whether we agree here on all essential principles, regardless whether a legally binding agreement is made... [this reduction] is itself profitable for us”.

It turns out that, pending consideration of boreal forests in the mechanisms of UNFCCC commitments and expecting obligations of largest emitters, we will hold unfavourable Russia policy of refusing to increase energy efficiency?

Given the sharp decline of emissions in the 90 years of the last century, this commitment to reduce emissions by 15-25% from the 1990 level corresponds to the growth of emissions from today's level by more than 10%, and does not imply significant energy efficiency measures. RSEU believes that by 2020 Russia should at least keep greenhouse gases at pre-crisis level of 2007 (65% from 1990 levels without taking into account absorption by forests) and take action to reduce emissions, which means that the goal of reducing emissions should be at least -35 %.
By the end of January, or example, Belarus has pledged to reduce emissions by 2020 by 5-10% from 1990 levels, the European Union committed to reduction of 20-30%, Norway - 30-40%, the United States - 17%.
«Greater ambition is required to meet the scale of the challenge,» UNFCCC Executive Secretary de Boer said.
UNFCCC involves 194 parties (countries, as well as the European Union as a single party, along with EU members). Most of the UNFCCC parties joined the Kyoto Protocol. Under the Protocol, 37 States, consisting of highly industrialized countries and countries undergoing the process of transition to a market economy (including Russia), have legally binding emission limitation and reduction commitments. Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012, UN conference in Copenhagen in December 2009 could neither adopt any new treaty nor agree to extend the existing Kyoto Protocol. Climate talks will continue in Bonn in summer and later in December in Mexico.

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