Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol (pdf) was adopted in Kyoto in 1997 at the Third Conference of the Parties (COP-3) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as a supplement to the Convention. Еру Kyoto Protocol provides quotas for greenhouse gas emissions for different states. This Protocol has been ratified by 181 States the world (collectively responsible for more than 61% of global greenhouse gas emissions).

The aim of the Kyoto Protocol is to limit anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases that cause global warming. The Kyoto Protocol has a number of international mechanisms, which determine the co-operation of countries in action to combat climate change.

The Kyoto Protocol ends December 31, 2012. Therefore, the work has been carried out for several years on the possibility of its extension or a new agreement to replace it. In particular, talks about the new agreement took place at the COP-14 in 2008 in Poznań, COP-15 in 2009 in Copenhagen, and COP-16 in Cancun (Mexico) in December 2010. However, the international community failed to reach the agreement so far because of irreconcilable contradictions between developed and developing countries. But the future of the Kyoto Protocol emergency is important for humanity, because the problem of global climate change is common and extremely serious for all countries.

Limiting the volume of Russian Joint Implementation (JI) projects is not reasonable, and profit losses are clearly foreseen, if Russia does not join the second period of the Kyoto Protocol. This is the conclusion by experts from Climate Change Global Services in the report on implementation of "Kyoto projects" in Russia.

The first three days of the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Doha (COP18) have not resulted in any significant decisions so far, as predicted. Russia is practically not ready to take part in the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. This will result both in lost opportunities for joint implementation projects and a reduced input of the country to climate mitigation. KP is losing participants, but gaining new ones –Australia announced the willing to join.

A few days ago the Russian Foreign Ministry has once again confirmed that, from next year, Russia is not going to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol, but Russia stands for the transfer of quotas. The global amount of unused quotas for CO2 emissions could reach 17 billion tons by 2020. Experts believe that this enormous amount threatens the viability of any future climate agreement.

Average capital costs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Russia are on average about 13 U.S. dollars per 1 tonne of CO2 equivalent. The most expensive projects are in metallurgical industry, and the "cheapest" ones are processing of associated gas and energy production based on the CMM utilization.

On May, 16th Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development approved another 36 JI projects totaling 128,1 mln tons of CO2. Oil and gas projects still form the largest part of those approved.

The website of the Russian carbon units registry updated the data on national accounting of Kyoto projects. By the beginning of April this year, 67 projects have been officially approved, with more than 174 million tons of CO2 by 2012. More than 36 million tons of emission reductions are officially recognized as being issued in the circulation. Among these projects renewable energy (most bio fuel) and energy efficiency are on the third place after oil and industrial sectors.

On 12 March, the Ministry of Economic Development has approved a list of 27 joint implementation projects intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The projects approved by the ministry show wider geographical coverage and relative sector diversity, but still do not include renewable energy projects.

By the end of 2011, Czech Republic managed to find funding under the Green Investment Scheme for more than 50,000 projects worth 424 million euros. Thus, a small European country completed its plan to attract environmental investments by more than 80% and has already allocated over a half of these funds to finance environmental projects. Meanwhile, Russia continues to lose opportunities to invest in climate projects.

In the end of January, the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia approved three new "Kyoto" projects. These projects will be implemented in the North and in the Far East of Russia, and will add about 10.5 million tons of saved CO2-equivalent, which is about one sixth of the amount initially planned by the Government for the third round of "climate" plans implementation.

Representatives of Russian NGOs who were following the course of the UN climate talks in Durban would like to emphasize the following.
Having in mind the complexity of the negotiations as well as differences in economical, political and environmental situation in the countries, we see the resulting Durban Package and the decision to have the second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol as a partial success, a step towards a new global agreement. However, bearing in mind the current trends of global warming, we express our deep concern about the adoption of a new agreement in 2020, which might come too late to hold the temperature growth within 2 degrees and will fail to avert the irreversible climate changes.

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