Position paper of Russian NGOs regarding the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11) in Paris, November-December 2015

Approved by the 11th extraordinary RSEU conference, October 29, 2015

Russian environmental NGOs are concerned about the unacceptably slow pace of the preparation of the new UN climate agreement, as well as the fact that both the agreement itself, and the countries’ announced national pledges are insufficient for containing the global warming even within the 2-degree limit – while we should be aiming for 1.5.

We strongly believe that the international agreement should encompass the following:

  • A common numeric target: to reduce global emissions by 70 to 95% by 2050 from the 1990 level;
  • A mandatory revision of national pledges every 5 years;
  • Conservation and restoration of all forests on the planet, including boreal forests;
  • Equal (50x50) allocation of climate finance for mitigation and adaptation, as well as to address the specific cases of loss and damage;
  • An efficient transfer of low-carbon and adaptation technology, and the work of bi- and multilateral cooperation mechanisms.

We believe that the new agreement should necessarily imply public access to information and full transparency of the latter with regard to all its elements, including mitigation, adaptation and finance. That is why we demand to abolish the practice of reducing the number of observer status places for NGOs at UNFCCC conferences, since NGOs play an important role in enabling public to access climate-related information.

We call on the official Russian delegation to take a constructive stand at the upcoming negotiations and do whatever it takes to ensure the adoption of an agreement that is as environmentally strong as possible, along with UN decisions that adequately address the urgent need to reduce global GHG emissions and adapt to the escalating negative impacts of climate change.

We call on Russia:

  • To revise its national pledges and to strengthen them in order to adequately correspond to the global goal of staying below 1.5 degrees. This is a hard job, but it is technically and economically feasible. And it is our duty as environmentalists to put forth this demand;
  • To adopt the target for industry and the energy sector to reduce their emissions by over 30% by 2030 from the 1990 level, not accounting for carbon absorption by forests;
  • To prioritize active adaptation measures to tackle climate change effects domestically, while also appealing to traditional indigenous knowledge;
  • To account for the climate impact of such a short-lived anthropogenic factor as black carbon. Monitoring and inventory of black carbon emissions have to be conducted, and methods to reduce this kind of emissions developed.

We support Russia’s intention to volunteer and become a donor as part of the international climate finance scheme, while helping the weakest and most vulnerable countries by contributing to the international climate fund (GCF - Green Climate Fund) and the recently established Russian Federation -UNDP Trust Fund for Development.

We want to emphasize that nuclear energy and big hydro cannot be regarded as environmentally sound solutions to climate change.

Energy efficiency and renewable energy sources must become the priority of Russia’s low-carbon development, which requires an increase in governmental support of these areas. We stand for the re-routing of subsidies from fossil fuels towards renewables and energy efficiency, while providing assistance to vulnerable social groups and creating green jobs.

We call on to reduce the consumption of the planet’s resources, both on the national, and the individual level.

We call on Russia to make maximum effort in 2016 to promptly develop the efficient international rules for the implementation of the Paris agreement and to adopt national decisions to ensure its implementation – on emissions, forests, adaptation and finance.