No new agreement ready for Copenhagen?

06.11.2009 г.

Today, Russia's organisations attending as observers climate change talks in Barcelona, made a statement saying that negotiations slowed down so, that it made impossible conclusion of a new agreement at the climate conference in Copenhagen next month.

The new agreement should replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires on 31 December, 2012.

Climate change talks in Barcelona, credit: UNFCCCClimate change talks in Barcelona, credit: UNFCCC"If only a political declaration without any specific obligations would be made, that would mean a complete failure of the climate negotiations", say the environmentalists.

According to representatives of Ecodefense (member of the Russian Socio-Ecologial Union, RSEU), “to solve the current crisis, a formal decision of the Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC in Copenhagen is needed, to continue the work with a clear indication of the legal status of the negotiations and date of their completion. It should be a legally binding agreement, subject to ratification, with no "indulgence".

RSEU, is anxiously watching the negotiations on the eve of the Copenhagen conference. RSEU notes that in the situation of extreme delay of the negotiations, Russia could take a leading role in the process, taking specific commitments.

Climate change talks in Barcelona, credit: UNFCCCClimate change talks in Barcelona, credit: UNFCCCMeanwhile, earlier this week, Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, after talks in Moscow with his Danish counterpart, made a statement that Russia would insist that "ability of Russian forests to absorb carbon dioxide should be better taken into account”. Another condition for Russia's participation in the new agreement is that the document should be signed by every country.

Yesterday at the Barcelona climate change talks, a member of the Russian delegation Sergey Tulinov repeated an earlier statement by President Medvedev on Russian commitment to reduce by the year 2020 its emissions by 10-15% of the level of 1990. In fact, this commitment means actually growth of emissions.

RSEU and other environmental organizations insist , that by 2020 Russian level of greenhouse gas emissions should not exceed 65% of the level of 1990 (it means, that the country should reduce its emissions by 35% from the level of 1990 rather than by 10-15%). According to environmentalists, in the pre-crisis year of 2007, Russian greenhouse gas emissions accounted only for 60% of the level of 1990, taking into account absorption of carbon dioxide by forests.

If Russian delegation keeps on refusing to actually reduce emissions, it would hinder any steps for implementation in Russia of future technologies, using potential of energy efficiency and renewables.

Today's press release of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, summarising the Barcelona climate change talks, which have finished today, reads: “little progress was made on the two key issues of mid-term emission reduction targets of developed countries and finance that would allow developing countries to limit their emissions growth and adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change”.

Climate change talks in Barcelona, credit: UNFCCCClimate change talks in Barcelona, credit: UNFCCCRSEU position is that to keep global warming at the level less than 2 degrees Celsius, developed countries (countries of Annex I of the Kyoto Protocol, including Russia) must reduce their emissions not less than by 25-40% by 2020 and by 50-80% by 2050. For Russia, one of the main measures should be increase of renewables share in the new capacities, put into operation, to 20% the by 2020, including decentralisation of energy supply.

More than 4 500 delegates, including observers, took part in the climate change talks in Barcelona. UN conference on climate change will be held in Copenhagen from 7 to 18 December.