Mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol

A new LCA draft text has just appeared. It should lay ground for the final resulting document of the conference. Russia received the Fossil of the Day for the willing to save up its emissions quotas for the future but for being against Kyoto2 at the same time.

In the end of the first week of UN climate talks according to the request of the RSEU climate secretariat the coordinator of Russian official delegation Oleg Shamanov met Russian NGO observers working at COP17 (Russian Socio-Ecological Union, Friends of the Baltic, Ecodefence, Ural Ecounion).

The third day of COP17 did not bring forth any progress in the negotiations. During the discussion of Kyoto mechanisms Oleg Shamanov, Russia’s representative, said that JI project provide a great stimulus for emissions reduction measures and have to remain in operation after 2012, but failed to mention anything about the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. At an evening side event Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine presented their respective situations with emissions trends, but said nothing about their future intentions in this field for the current negotiations.

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.

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 Sberbank calls for applications to the third tender of JP with an increased limit 70 mln ton CO2. Projects will compete within the three sectors: Energy, Industry and Wastes. Russian NGOs consider that this system again doesn’t give an opportunity for renewable energy projects, because they can’t compete with large scale projects of energy monopolists.

The procedure for approval of the JU project in Russia may be changed again. Since December (6 months!) Sberbank didn’t accept any JI project proposals.
Since 2008 Ministry of Economy has approved only 32 projects (58,5 mln ton CO2) from proposed 73 projects (105,8 mln ton CO2).
Many tens more companies having an intention and high potential for CO2 fear of complicated bureaucratic procedure. Huge Russian potential of hundreds mln ton CO2 reduction remain untapped.
More information in M. Yulkin article (in Russian).

The second Sberbank’s bidding of JI projects has just finished. Once again there are no renewable energy projects among the winners. According to NGOs, requirements for such projects are not field-specific, there are no developed mechanisms to sell the approved emissions reduction units and there are no clear post-Kyoto plans in view. All that makes the future of JI very vague.