International Climate Negotiations

On the eve of the UN Conference of Climate Change (COP-19) in Warsaw, experts are divided in their opinions - some are very skeptical and do not hope for any results, others are optimistic. Representatives of environmental organizations are sure that "Warsaw must become a turning point in the negotiations. It is high time to move from words to actions."

Russian climate policy exists, according to the authors of the report published in the scientific bulletin of the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, but it has more "window dressing" than real action. The experts consider inadequate assessment of damage to national security, which may be caused by climate change, to be the barrier to the advancement of climate on the political agenda.

The June round of UN climate talks in Bonn, which had promised to be a mediocre "technical" meeting, has become with the efforts of the Russian delegation a “deeply layered blockade.”

Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan plan quadrilateral meetings to develop a coordinated position on the second period of the Kyoto Protocol. The countries are unhappy with the amendment adopted at the last climate meeting of the parties in Doha not to exceed the emission level of 2008 – 2010 during 2013 -2020, on the average. Environmental NGOs call to stop considering climate agreement as a mechanism to benefit, to refuse from the “hot air” and to take stronger commitments to reduce emissions.

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said at the Climate Forum in Doha that he will bring together world leaders in advance for negotiating the agreement of 2015, because he is afraid of a repetition of Copenhagen. What should be the climate process in the future and what place may Russia take in it?

Several analytical agencies included Russia in the list of countries consistently claiming for leadership in greenhouse gas emissions. According to representatives of environmental organisations, Russia risks becoming an outsider, if it remains the country of raw materials.

On Saturday, December 8, the Doha round of climate negotiations finally came to an end. COP18 approved Kyoto-2, but failed to provide any significant emissions cuts. Russia remains with a huge but useless amount of hot air.

On December 6 in his official COP18 speech Mr. Bedritsky, Head of the Russian delegation, confirmed the country’s intention to commit to an “up to 25%” emissions reduction from the 1990 level by 2020. This may imply both constraining the emissions to 75% of the 1990 level by 2020 and rather unrestricted emissions growth. The carry-over of 6 billion tons of Russian AAUs to the period of time until 2020, the hot air, must not substitute actual implementation of renewable energy, say NGOs.

Climate Change Performance Index was presented 3rd of December in Doha by Germanwatch and Climate Action Network-Europe. According to this Index Russian Federation is on the 56th place among 58 biggest emitters worldwide. The latest information about Russia's intention to declare the goal of 15-25% emissions reduction by 2020 indicates low ambitions, and partly explains the fact that our country is at the end of the rating.

There is a vast surplus of units in Kyoto's cap-and-trade system. Russia and Ukraine spoke in favor of the carry-over of AAUs to the second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol (KP2) and beyond. If no solution for the carry-over of this surplus from commitment period to commitment period is found, countries that have put forward a target for KP2 may be under no pressure to deviate from business-as-usual emissions.