Putin: Russia slowed down global warming for nearly a year?

On November 29th in Paris the climate negotiations started - Conference of Parties under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change COP-21. This year 195 countries have to sign the comprehensive agreement for the period after 2020, which will largely determine the future of our planet. 40 thousand participants will arrive to Paris of which 20 thousand - are representatives of the official delegations. For the first time at the Climate Summit, there is a large number of top officials - 150 Heads of State on November 30th spoke at a special inauguration meeting at the COP 21, among whom was the President of Russia V. Putin.

Today, Vladimir Putin, like all the Heads of Russia, called for all countries to unite in the fight against climate change. "Climate change has become one of the most serious challenges facing humankind. Hurricanes, floods, droughts, and other anomalies caused by global warming provide increasingly significant economic damage, destroying the usual prevailing human environment. The quality of life of all people on the planet, economic growth and sustainable social development of entire regions of the world depend on solving the climate problem" - said Vladimir.

An encouraging fact is that the speech included the goal of reducing emissions by 2030 - 70% of the 1990 level (instead of the "corridor" of 70-75% announced earlier by officials and recorded in INDC). It was not said that this goal will be achieved "with maximal accounting of the carbon absorption by forests" – more probably this can be explained by a brief presentation format, and doesn’t means strengthening of Russia's obligations - those written in INDC.

Unexpected were the words that "our country ranked first in the world in terms of reducing the energy intensity of the economy - 33.4 percent in the period from 2000 to 2012, and by the end of the program “Energy efficiency and energy development" expect to achieve a reduction by 13.5 percent till 2020". In recent years, more and more experts say that the state program on energy efficiency is lagging behind and will not reach the goal. The state policy in the field of energy is unbalanced and inconsistent; it is not based on reality, on the knowledge of the actual causes of the efficiency fall. Payback of the energy efficiency innovations depends not only on fuel prices but also on bank interest. That’s why the economic effect achievement of energy conservation we do not interfere with cheap energy but with expensive money (http://www.energosovet.ru/bul_stat.php?idd=500).

Vladimir Putin also announced that "from 1991 to 2012 Russia has not only prevented the growth of greenhouse gas emissions, but have significantly reduced them. It was possible due to the modernization of the economy, introduction of clean and energy-efficient technologies... For comparison I will say, dear colleagues, that global greenhouse gas emissions 2012 amounted to 46 billion tons, that is to say that the efforts of Russia allowed to slow down global warming by almost a year".

Despite of so proud Putin statement, it should be said that the emissions reduction of the Russian Federation in 90's has occurred not because of the "economy modernization, introduction of clean and energy efficient technologies" - but because of the decline in industrial production following the collapse of the Soviet Union and its infrastructures, and this is not a reason to be proud.

The President mentioned that "Russia has developed a technology using additives based on carbon nanotubes. According to experts, the application of this technology in Russia will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 to 160-180 million tons". In addition, he asked to confirm "the proposal to hold a scientific forum under the UN platform in which to discuss issues related not only to climate change but the exhaustion of natural resources and degradation of the human environment".

This topic really deserves a wide professional discussion - and it happens within the UN Conferences on Sustainable Development.

Along with the new nanotechnologies, mentioned by V.Putin, we would like to see in the Russian Federation the development of already known technologies for energy generation from renewable energy sources (RES) as the most proven in many countries perspective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, in Russia the share of renewable energy in the electric power still does not exceed 1%. Energy Strategy set the target for increasing RE capacity by 4.5% of renewable energy by 2020, but a year ago, this target was adjusted to 2.5%, and according to the new version of Energy Strategy of the Russian Federation is expected to reach 4.5% in 2030. Such situation can hardly be called as modernizing low-carbon development.

RSEU supports the Head of Russian Federation proposals to fix the agreement, "the role of forests as major sinks of greenhouse gases" and the intention "to provide financial and other assistance" to developing countries. All of these issues were included in the position of Russian NGOs to the Paris COP21.

Climate talks in Paris have just begun. In his speech,V.Putin and many other heads of states made a strong bid - to make the agreement legally binding and comprehensive.

While the draft agreement, where countries deposits are voluntary, does not fully meet this format. We hope for productive development process.

The full text of a speech and V. Putin can be found HERE.