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.

Russia’s refusal to be part of Kyoto-2 implies a lot of losses for our country – for the federal budget, the society and for the environment. But there is an already existing JI mechanism which might be very successfully integrated into Russia’s climate policy, the emissions regulation system in order to stimulate environmental investments into energy efficiency and resource saving projects.

Several decisions on the LULUCF within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol were taken at the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa, the full stop in the discussion has not been set yet. Representatives of the environmental NGOs believe that the new scandalous proposal of classifying all forest fires as natural ones may let Russia relax about its less than perfect legislation and forest management practices.

December, 8: Russian delegation to COP17 held a press conference this morning. A.Frolov, head of Roshydromet, said human impact on climate change is indisputable (while it has been debated a lot by Russian scientific community). He said that Russia reduced its emissions by 36% since 1990. NGOx consider this is a questionable achievement since it is mostly due to the industrial crisis of the 90-s. Mr. Frolov also stated that Kyoto-2 is a false goal and Russia will not be a part of it.

The high level segment of climate negotiations, bringing ministers and heads of states, has started. At the official opening head of the Russian delegation, Head of Roshydromet, A.Frolov and the President’s advisor on climate change, A.Bedritsky, were presented. NGO observers from Russia and Ukraine directed an appeal to the delegates to allow JI only to those countries who sign KP2. Russia suggests to vote at the COP on the correction of the Artickle 4 of the Convention concerning revision of lists of developed and developing countries. But their is still o sufficient movement both to KP-2 and to the new legally binding agreement

Russia is one of the carbon-intensive countries in the world, said the British Environmental Investment Organisation (EIO). However, analysts cannot confirm this with figures, because Russian companies are in the end of carbon reporting lists. Introduction of international low-carbon standards should be part of climate policy of Russia, and transparency in corporate carbon accounting should be encouraged by governmental mechanisms. Unfortunately, so far Russia has no such plans.

Passenger aviation was the first to create the international system of payments for greenhouse gases emissions. Russian airlines are assessing their expenses already. The Aeroflot director general Vitaly Saveliev announced in an interview to Interfax news agency $ 40 million in 2012. Representatives of environmental organizations think that these charges are important to understand the idea of "the cost of climate change": as one will have to pay for the emissions, there will be additional incentives to reduce them.

The new Resolution of the Government of the Russia Federation “On Measures to Implement Article 6 of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” (the “Resolution”) does not imply any simplification of the bidding process, nor does it provide more opportunities for small-scale renewable energy projects. The new changes even aggravate the competition in this already very narrow field.

The inclusion of forestry projects in Kyoto mechanisms remains a matter of dispute. For Russia this would be one of the least costly, thus very promising ways. Although many NGOs are cautious about the inclusion of forests in climate policy mechanisms, especially as far as methods of emissions volume estimation, the accuracy of carbon sequestration accounting and the threat of monoculture plantations to ecosystems are concerned.

Russia’s Federal Government regulation “On measures to implement Article 6 of the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change” was signed on September, 15. Instead of setting a limit for each bidding round this time there is a new limit set of a total of 300 mln tons of CO2 equivalent until the end of 2012. And the new rules create even more obstacles for the projects and opportunities for corruption.

Russia’s first forest project that claims to provide an emissions’ cut of 120.000 tons of CO2 equivalent may be up for Sberbank’s bidding in the nearest future. The forest management project for the Altai Territory may bring about 120.000 emission reduction units already in the coming year. There should be a separate nomination for such small and middle scale projects with a simplified evaluation procedure, say environmental NGOs.