Resolution on Climate and Energy of the IVth All-Russian Conference of the Socio-Ecological Union "Public participation in development of national policies on climate and energy" 26-28 October 2011, St. Petersburg

Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) note the importance of regulations adopted in Russia in recent years, such as the Federal Law "On Energy Saving and Energy Efficiency," Energy Strategy of Russia up to 2030, and the Climate Doctrine of the Russian Federation.

We commend adoption of the Comprehensive Plan for Implementing the Climate Doctrine of the Russian Federation until 2020, which determines the order and responsible bodies for development of information, scientific, socio-economic and human resources policies in the sphere of climate, development and implementation of operational and long-term measures for adaptation to climate change and for mitigation of human impact on climate, international cooperation in the sphere of climate change, and the system for monitoring implementation of the Comprehensive Plan.

Stressing that the international climate agreements as a whole meet national interests of Russia on modernization and technological upgrading, we urge the President and the Government of the Russian Federation to undertake additional and immediate actions that are needed to implement efficient national policy on climate and energy:

  • Adopt a national goal for Russia by 2020: to keep total emissions of greenhouse gases with consideration for absorption by forests not greater than 60% of the 1990 level.
  • Supplement the strategic planning documents (Concept of Socio-Economic Development, the Energy Strategy by 2030) by intermediate targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors of the economy until 2020.
  • Supplement the Comprehensive Plan for Implementing the Climate Doctrine of the Russian Federation until 2020 by development of the "road map" to reduce GHG emissions as a whole by 80% by 2050 of the 1990 level.

We note the following current problems in development of low-carbon energy production:

  • Strategic planning documents of the Russian Federation are aimed at further absolute increase in energy consumption, as a condition for development. This contradicts the declared priorities of state policy of Russia.
  • Goals to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (15-25% by 2020 of the 1990 levels) are insufficient and not consistent with global and national goals for energy efficiency and renewable energy.
  • Development of Joint Implementation (JI) projects in Russia under the Kyoto Protocol is on the way of supporting a small number of projects of major business companies, and not on the way of supporting hundreds of small projects on renewable energy sources.
  • Monopoly of energy producers and administrative barriers hinder development of free-market energy services, land acquisition for location of alternative energy sources, their connection to the network, and free choice of energy producer by a consumer.
  • The energy tariff system has not become a mechanism promoting energy saving; it develops in the interests of the monopolists, but not of the national economy and consumers.
  • State support to production of renewable energy sources and equipment for renewable energy, energy efficient construction materials, energy efficient lighting and other next-generation energy-efficient products is absent.
  • State standards requiring use of energy-efficient building materials and systems for reducing energy consumption in residential sector are insufficient.
  • There is no consistent policy to reduce GHG emissions from transport.

Nongovernmental organization believe, that the necessary measures in the field of energy production and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions are the following, with the account for the fact that energy efficiency and renewable energy sources are essential tools for implementation of the state climate policy:

  • To achieve the already adopted global goal of retention global temperatures rise within 2 degrees, Russia by 2020 shall keep total emissions of greenhouse gases with account for absorption by forests below 60% of the 1990 level. By 2050, Russia shall adopt a strategic goal: to reduce emissions at least by 50% of the 1990 level in total from all sources and sinks, and to strive for 80% reduction.
  • When attracting joint implementation projects under the Kyoto Protocol, priority shall be given to projects providing specific and reasonable socio-environmental benefits, primarily to projects on renewable energy and energy efficiency. All projects must have clear and measurable positive social and environmental benefits.
  • Energy efficiency and renewable energy shall have priority in key policy documents of socio-economic development at all levels. The strategic goal shall be transition to a low-carbon economy by 2050, with the share of renewable energy at least 50%, with abandonment of nuclear energy and construction of new large hydropower plants, especially in vulnerable regions.
  • The Energy Strategy of Russia until 2030 shall link goals for renewable energy and energy efficiency with the national goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Development indicators shall be reviewed in favor of renewable energy and energy efficiency at the stage of the final consumer.
  • The state program for forming the market of energy services, allowing consumers to choose energy producer, shall be developed and adopted.
  • Regulations to support renewable energy, including compensations for the costs of energy production based on renewable energy, and other regulatory documents on state support for renewable energy shall be urgently adopted.
  • Investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, which were excluded in 2009 under the pretext of reducing the costs because of the crisis, shall be put back to budget documents. This will not only allow to implement an effective national climate change mitigation policies and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but will also pave the way for technological upgrading and improving the competitiveness of the Russian economy.
  • Strategic planning documents shall be corrected for excluding construction of new nuclear power plants. The dangerous practice of life extension of existing nuclear power plants shall be abandoned. Nuclear power cannot be a tool to address climate change. It makes minimal contributions to emissions reductions, but creates a number of serious long-term problems and dangerous risks.
  • Amendments shall be introduced in the Federal Law FZ № 261 "On energy saving and energy efficiency": the section on rights and responsibilities of citizens in the area of energy saving and energy efficiency, deleted in the latest version of the law, shall be returned back to its text, since this section provides the motivation of citizens to implement energy saving measures at the level of a household.
  • Development of a comprehensive system of measures for widespread introduction of energy efficient materials, technologies and solutions in the construction industry, which is responsible for a huge resource of energy conservation in buildings, is urgently needed.
  • The programs of regional and local development shall include plans for development of urban infrastructure with consideration for climate policies and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport, especially priority plans for public transport and conditions for cycling in cities.
  • Steps to reduce contribution of organic waste (landfills, waste from agriculture and forestry) in emissions of greenhouse gases, including development of bioenergy programs, shall be undertaken.

On the issue of conservation of forests and swamps

We express concern over the fact that the system of forestry created over decades has been actually destroyed. Forest fires in Russia in recent years were caused not only by weather and climate changes over the past few decades, but largely by straight errors in the management of forests and drawbacks in the legislation. Long-term practice of wetlands drainage not only takes these ecosystems out of the climate balance as natural regulators of the carbon cycle, but extremely aggravates the situation with forest fires. All this greatly reduces the potential of Russia in accounting absorption of greenhouse gases by forests as natural CO2 sinks within international climate policy.
In this regard, we deem it necessary to do the following:

  • - Restore the forest protection corps, including those for fighting forest fires - a major source of GHG emissions into the atmosphere.
  • - Develop a system of measures for natural forest regeneration with selective logging to replace the existing system of clear cutting and artificial reforestation.
  • - Take steps to preserve and restore wetlands, including establishment of protected areas, and flooding marshes drained earlier in the fire-dangerous areas.

On the issue of the role of Arctic in the climate change, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) note, that the Russian Arctic plays an important role in weather and climate on regional and global levels. Therefore, it is needed in every possible way to avoid negative technogenic impacts on nature of this region. The exceptional complexity and environmental hazards of mining and transportation of hydrocarbons in the Arctic have no analogues on the possible devastating consequences in the history of mankind. With the present scientific and technological levels, it is principally impossible to guarantee zero leakage in the event of accidental oil spills in harsh Arctic conditions. Implementation of plans for oil exploration, mining and transport operations in the Kara Sea, as well as increased extraction production in the Pechora Sea and around the Kolguev Island pose environmental disasters and unpredictable negative consequences for the global climate system.
In this regard, we deem it necessary to do the following:

  • - Introduce in Russia a moratorium for increased production of hydrocarbons in the Arctic due to high economic and environmental risks.
  • - Work for the early adoption of an international moratorium on development of new hydrocarbon fields in the Arctic.
  • - Develop and implement a comprehensive program to study Arctic seas, their biology, hydrology and climate-regulating functions with participation of leading Russian and foreign research institutions specializing in the study of Polar Regions.
  • - Immediately initiate development of specific, more stringent domestic and international "Arctic" provisions restricting discharge of pollutants and atmospheric emissions of harmful substances from ships along the Northern Sea Route, as well as more stringent regulations to prevent oil spills during transportation and transshipment. More stringent environmental regulations shall be adopted also for fishing, exploration and research vessels operating in the Arctic Basin.
  • - Develop and adopt a system of laws and regulations to ensure full public access to all environmental information on projects of exploration, mining, transportation, storage and processing of hydrocarbons on the continental shelf and in the coastal zone of the Russian Arctic.

Such decisions will help not only reducing anthropogenic pressure on the Arctic, "the kitchen of weather and climate," but also reducing dependence of the Russian economy on hydrocarbons, and finding alternative ways of eco-oriented energy development.
In the sphere of climate change adaptations of water regimes of large hydropower plants in the Arctic Basin, NGOs note, that over the past few decades climate change has resulted in increased frequency of extreme hydrological characteristics (as a result of major floods and floods) in rivers of the Arctic Basin. This increases the risk of emergencies on the rivers with flows regulated by hydropower plants. Thus, in recent years, emergency floods in the downstream of the Angara-Enisey cascade became more frequent. The situation is aggravated by existing drawbacks in the management of hydropower plants, where in recent years economic interests dominated over statutory requirements for safety of hydraulic structures.
In this regard, NGOs deem it necessary to do the following:

  • - Recalculate conditions and parameters for safe passes of high waters through existing and planned large-scale hydro dams in the Arctic Basin for their hydrological safety.
  • - When developing and implementing adaptation measures to climate change (paragraph 4.2 of the Climate Doctrine of the Russian Federation), consider this aspect of ensuring the safety of large hydropower plants in Russia in the medium- and long-term socio-economic development plans of regions and municipalities.
  • - The responsible federal executive bodies, when preparing adaptation measures to climate change (according to points 1, 15 of the Comprehensive Plan for Implementing the Climate Doctrine until 2020), consider issues of hydrological safety of large hydropower plants in the Arctic Basin due to the increased occurrence frequency of extreme hydrological events.

We also believe that it is important to create conditions for direct involvement of NGOs in the form of public procurement in education and public awareness raising on climate change, adaptation to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Conference participants - representatives of nongovernmental organizations from 34 regions of Russia.