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Climate Actions

The international climate negotiations will start next week in Durban, South Africa, These negotiations promise to be “hot: the only one year remains to the end of the 1st period of Kyoto Protocol. NGOs expect countries constructive attitude to approve 2nd period of Kyoto Protocol and do everything possible for preparation of new international legally binding agreement. Belarus, Russia and Ukraine NGOs have made a Statement to Durban.

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 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.

20 of July in New-York Russia together with China opposed a Statement of the UN Security Council (http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2011/sc10332.doc.htm) on the security threat of climate change. Russian representative V.Churkin also said that Russia will move to low-carbon economy with attention to nuclear energy.
This confusing position in the concurrent SC debate shed a light on the lack of a clear line on the climate issue in the Russian Government, and nuclear energy threatens the global security,

Emission permits issued by the UN for Russia to boost measures on limitation of climate change can become an occasion for rich countries to abandon considerable reduction in their own emissions. Representatives of non-governmental organizations display negative attitude to such developments, as Russia is one of the largest CO2 emitters, and it imposes a special responsibility in the climate process on our country.

At the UN climate negotiations Russia is still taking a stand against the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (KP) after 2012. The opportunities granted by the first commitment period are largely missed by Russia, since only 32 projects have been approved and many investors have left the country. The President has called for the maximum use of KP mechanisms in the remaining 18 months. Russia’s participation in the second period is very important in order to unite global action for climate change mitigation. But even without the KP Russia’s national interests and priorities in international affairs will lead the country to the obvious need to reduce our emissions as an integral part of modernization aimed at increasing energy efficiency of the country’s economy.

1Air carriers no longer wish to be called the Number 2 air polluters and are joining the emissions trading scheme. Starting from January 1, 2012, a carbon surcharge will be implemented in Europe and international air travel is the first one to pay. NGOs hope that the money will be used to fund actual measures to combat climate change and that the sanctions will result in emissions reduction, not in reduction of air travel.

June 17: the second round of UN climate negotiations for this year ended in Bonn, Germany. Despite certain progress in working on technical details the big questions of the Kyoto second commitment period, emissions reduction goals and long-term financing remain unsolved.

Second round of UNFCCC climate negotiations 2011 starts in Bonn 6th of June. The key issue: discussion of frames for the future international agreement, which hopefully will be brought to UNGCCC/COP-17 conference in Durban in November 2011. International NGO Climate Action Network has published expectation of the Durban decision.

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).

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