1

An Agreement on the Threshold

The Paris Agreement has overcome the 55% threshold and will come into force on November 4. The majority of leading countries have ratified the Agreement on greenhouse gas emissions. Russia, the fifth biggest emitter, stays on the sidelines. Representatives of public environmental organizations believe that the country has no compelling reasons to slow down the process.

Today, 75 countries with total quota of more than 55% of greenhouse gas emissions have ratified the Agreement designating transfer of the world economy onto the rails of low-carbon development. These include the U.S., China, European Union, Brazil, UAE, Mexico, Belorussia, etc. Let us remind that ratification of the Paris Agreement by 55 countries responsible for the 55% of the global CO2 emissions was meant to become the foundation for ratification of the document as a whole.

The European Union responsible for 12 percent of emissions has just announced ratification of the Agreement; its input surpassed the necessary number of participants and the emission quota. The fact of such early start up of the international climatic document became a true sensation. It was expected that ratification would take no less than two years.

Nevertheless, a year after Paris, the СОР 22 Conference of the Parties of the UN Frame Convention on climate changes will start in Marrakesh (Morocco); it will also become the first meeting of the Paris Agreement participant countries.

The process of adoption of the new climate agreement has no precedents, both by the number of signee countries and by the quickness of its adoption. "Adoption of the Agreement on climate changes was one of the most complicated tasks which the world has ever encountered with… This is a strong political signal showing that all governments are, in fact, ready to fulfill their Paris promises,” Nick Nattolom, press-secretary of the UN FCCC, believes.

The quick ratification of the Agreement between the U.S. and China, responsible for nearly 40 percent of global emissions, was named the sensation of the year. The ratification process keeps going on: the Prime Minister of India, the biggest source of emissions, said that he will ratify the Paris Agreement in early October.

Russia, holding the fifth place in the table of global emissions, keeps the ratification option open. RF may postpone ratification of the Paris Agreement till 2020, Izvestia informed referring to its sources in the government and coal industry.

Russian official representatives have used the reason that there was no sense to hurry up with joining the climate agreement as long as major emitters, such as China, U.S., India, and EU had not done so. However, this argument has lost its actuality. Russia found itself among the retardate countries.

Interestingly, there is a certain progress in the climate direction: the RF Ministry of Nature is actively engaged in the business of introduction of carbon regulations and there exist plans for reanimation of the state energy efficiency program. Quite a few representatives of the business community openly support the low-carbon trends: carbon control and renewable energy. However, their voices are by far not as convincing as are demands of opponents to Russia’s joining the “low-carbon club,” i.e. mining industries and the coal lobby. Unfortunately, it looks like the government considers on this matter exactly their opinions.

In the opinion of environmental public organizations, Russia has all prerequisites and perspectives for ratification of the Paris Agreement. All the more so that the experts warn that the country might lose its right to vote in the work on realization of the new climate agreement. This absolutely is against Russia’s interests.

"The low-carbon development is an opportunity for our country to transfer all spheres of economy onto the new, modern level,” Olga Senova, Climate Secretariat of the Russian Social and Ecological Union, says. “Representatives of public environmental organizations salute such a speedy adoption of a vital for all countries document. Energy efficiency and the green power production reduce expenses and increase competitiveness. Enhancement of the sustainability against the impact of global warming makes a very serious economic sense for all countries.”