UN publication will help to choose low-carbon development strategy

Olga Podosenova

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has released a brief guide on developing low carbon strategies for climate-sustainable development in Russian language. Its authors believe that, without well-planned implementation programs, efforts of the countries become ineffective isolated actions.

"Developing strategies for low-carbon climate- sustainable development" provides a brief overview of decisions on identification of stakeholders, and establishment of planning and coordination systems. The document is a guide to create climate programs and to perform simulations of scenarios for adaptation to climate change. The brochure offers a methodology for assessing required investments and preparing "road maps" for low-emission, climate-resilient development, and working out policy instruments.

The publication is the result of synthesis of nearly twenty guides and reviews of 2009-2011, based on the experience of UNDP and of National Communications from 140 countries over the past ten years. According to its authors, the document is intended primarily for authorities.

"Despite the waves of economic crisis, the world's leading countries (both developed and developing ones) are moving towards low-carbon climate-resilient development" - the authors of the publication say. - Today, the climate policies in most countries are dominated by narrowly-defined projects for prevention of climate change, reducing emissions and adapting to them. The result is a set of isolated efforts to solve the problem, which is comprehensive and pervasive one."

The strategies for low-carbon climate-resilient development proposed by UNDP can simultaneously respond to threats, risks and vulnerabilities. These assessments enable countries to identify measures of climate policy, are based on national specific features and engage very wide range of stakeholders and sectors in the process of assessment and implementation.

Most likely, the main target group of the publication in Russia will be regions where low-carbon initiatives, specific strategies and programs are implemented. In recent years, Russian leaders have made a bet on some low-carbon targets (energy efficiency, emissions reduction) in a number of key priorities for development. However, it is too early to call it a national low-carbon strategy. And this is despite the fact that the amount of energy saving in our country can reach the value equal to the total energy consumption in France or Britain. The possible economic effect of fuel saving and opportunities to increase gas exports reaches 120-150 billion dollars a year.

Innovative instruments of climate financing shall be introduced to encourage energy efficiency. According to the executive director of the Center for Energy Efficiency (CENEF) Igor Bashmakov, "transition to low carbon economy is to be implemented by 2030; otherwise the lack of energy and its high price will become a brake to economic growth", - the expert says.

The priority actions that may become the beginning for active transition to low-carbon development include:
- Introduction of modern strict energy efficiency standards. Today, there is no system in Russia that prohibits the use of the most inefficient technologies.
- Adoption of legislative commitments to develop renewable energy. With the large scale introduction of energy-saving technologies, the Russian Federation can improve adopted commitments to develop renewable energy sources by 2020 and could significantly increase their contribution, for example, in electricity production, from 4.5 to 13 %.

- Guaranteeing accurate and stable return on investment in renewable energy and energy-saving technologies. This can be done, for example, through mechanisms of financial support to renewable energy sources, return on investments in case of energy efficiency measures implementation, and improving the tax system.
- Increasing investments in research in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

More information on low-carbon development strategies and climate finance can be found at:www.undp.ru/download.php?$1726