Durban outcomes – an NGO view

Olga Senova, Ekaterina Uspenskaya

The outcome of Durban climate talks may be seen as successful. But it is important not to stop here, but raise ambition and keep working hard towards a new legally binding agreement for all Parties. Russia should join KP-2 in order not to kill JI in our country.

NGOs are disappointed with official position of the Russian Federation - a refusal to participate in the second period to the Kyoto Protocol, and lost opportunity to perform JI projects after 2012.

Having in mind all the difficulties of the negotiations process, and the differences in the economic, political, social and environmental situations in the member countries, the outcomes of COP17, i.e. the so-called Durban Package, may be called a success to some extent.

Positive outcome of COP17:

  • the decision to work on the preparation of a new global climate agreement by 2015 which, as stated in one of the resulting documents, should come into full effect in 2020. A new body (Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action) was especially created to this end.
  • the decision about the second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol from 2013 and on, in which 27 EU member states, Norway, Switzerland, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and probably also Australia and New Zealand will take part.
  • a certain progress in the organization of practical framework for the new Green Climate Fund and the Adaptation committee, which is of utter importance for the least developed and vulnerable countries in need of urgent financial and technological help in struggling with climate change consequences.

At the same time we see some serious drawbacks of COP17:

  • the countries’ emissions reduction targets, listed in the Addendum to Copenhagen Accord in 2009 and now existing in the Durban Package, have not changed and remain too low and unambitious to keep global warming within 2 degrees. According to some estimations, at the current ambitions level the global warming will reach 3,5 degrees by 2100.
  • only a relatively small number of countries joined the second commitment period of KP, which is insufficient to influence emissions reduction on the global level. These countries only cover 15 to 17% of total GHG emissions.

Russian NGOs are especially disappointed by Russia’s decision not to support Kyoto-2 and that our country lost the chance to be part of the JI scheme after 2012 as the result of it. This means the loss of investment and technologies that are necessary for the modernization of our economy. In this case Russia’s vague political ambitions came against our country’s economic interests.
The opinion of Russian Socio-Ecological Union is that for Russia it is beneficial to join the second commitment period of Kyoto and it’d better be done as soon as possible. We reckon that the officials should enhance their work on bringing and registering new JI projects during the last year of the first commitment period, to improve our voluntary commitments to reduce emissions from 15-24% up to 40% (i.e. to reach an emissions level of a maximum of 60% compared to the 1990 level by 2020) and to develop a national road-map to reduce our emissions and to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency by 2020.

At the moment a joint NGO statement on the outcomes of Durban is being prepared.