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Russian Government approved Climate Doctrine for Russia

23rd of April, 2009 the Russian Cabinet of Ministers has discussed and approved the draft Climate Doctrine for Russia, which was presented by Jury Trutnev, Minister of Nature Use and Environment. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has argued that a concrete domestic plan for action on climate is needed, and that the policies should focus on improvements of resource and energy efficiencies.
Next step - the President Medvedev should approve this document.

The Russian Cabinet has discussed the draft ’climate doctrine’ of Russia 23 April 2009. Based on this discussion, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has argued that a concrete domestic plan for action on climate is needed, and that the policies should focus on improvements of resource and energy efficiencies. Putin is also calling for international cooperation to solve the problem – according to him Russia will take a responsible approach to its domestic policies and measures.

The Minister of Natural Resources Yuri Trutnev presented the findings of the ‘climate doctrine’ to the Cabinet. In the press he has argued that implementing climate policies based on efficiency improvements would be good for the Russian economy rather than an additional cost. The doctrine outlines the potential impact of unchecked climate change to the Russian economy could be a reduction of the GDP by 2-5%. By 2050, the annual costs could raise to 60 Bln RUR. However, also benefits of climate change were mentioned.

Analysis by Anna Korppoo (the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Acting Head of Programme)

  • The concrete domestic action plan on climate mentioned by Putin is a very positive development, and ends the long silence on this important issue in the high-level politics of Russia.
  • It is significant that these statements could mark a more active domestic debate on the post-2012 position of Russia
  • it is significant that the costs of climate change are first time widely used in headlines rather than the benefits expected even though the benefits of climate change still remain a strong element in the discussion
  • The economic figures included in the ‘climate doctrine’ could potentially play a somewhat similar role in Russia as the Stern report played in the UK, however, the general awareness of the issue and an active civil society required for such debate are, if not completely lacking in any case, weak in Russia.
  • The Minister of Natural Resources considering climate policies to have rather a positive than a negative impact on the Russian economy may mark turning the page in the Russian climate policy. However, it remains to be seen whether the more traditional counter arguments on emission reduction commitments limiting economic growth will be restated in the near future.
  • In the past many good initiatives have been held by the heavy Russian bureaucracy and the lack of attention by the highest political level. In this rare case that such attention by Putin was gained, it would support the Russian debate if other G8 countries, especially the US, expressed interest in these statements.
  • Putin is emphasizing international cooperation and Russia’s current active role in it, however, it could be argued that as Russia is only starting to develop its position for the Copenhagen climate talks, Putin’s government has hardly been progressive in its approach to post-2012 talks
  • It is unsurprising that the actions would be based on energy efficiency. Legislation on this issue is already under way, and the modernization of the economy has led to a dramatic fall of energy intensity during the last decade.

MATERIAL AND BACKGROUND:

You can find the script of Minister of Natural Resources Yuri Trutnev here (in Russian):
http://www.mnr.gov.ru/files/part/5691_doklad.doc

Trutnev’s main points in his interviews to included:

  • implementing the ‘climate doctrine’ i.e. establishing a national climate policy could be good for the economy. This is because climate policies could rather improve the efficiency of the economy than lead to additional costs
  • if climate change is ignored, the costs for Russia could be 2-5% of the GDP
  • by 2050 the annual costs of extreme weather phenomena could raise to 60 Bln RUR
  • benefits could occur in agriculture, water and Arctic resources
  • all major emitters including the United States must cooperate in order to establish a meaningful post-2012 climate agreement

Sources: http://eco.rian.ru/business/20090423/169062786.html
http://eco.rian.ru/business/20090423/169061923.html

Putin’s comments:

  • solving the climate problem will require international cooperation, and Russia will take a responsible approach in its domestic policies
  • a concrete action plan is needed in Russia: this should be based on the introduction of resource and energy saving technologies, and improvement of energy efficiency in the economy
  • Russia needs to establish modern environmental standards for technology
  • Russian participation in the international climate talks is very active, and the country is going strong implementing its international climate commitments

Source: http://eco.rian.ru/business/20090423/169049301.html

Background on the climate doctrine

The Russian Hydrometeorological Service (Roshydromet) published the climate doctrine in February 2009 (http://www.climate2008.igce.ru/v2008/htm/index00.htm). The report supports the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that the main cause of the observed global warming is associated with increased human activity. The report also confirms that on the Russian territory more warming has been observed than the world average, and that significant influence on socio-economic activity can be expected. This is significant as the most vocal Russian climatologists have been known to hold somewhat skeptical views on the human-induced nature as well as seriousness of the impacts of global warming.