Russian Social-Ecological Union / Friends of the Earth Russia calls for solidarity actions on behalf of environmental prisoner Evgeny Vitishko, board member of RSEU regional group Environmental Watch on North Caucasus (EWNC).

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To summarize the outcomes of 2014, the Climate Secretariat presents a top-5 of the year’s most important climate-related discoveries. Not all of them are actual scientific discoveries, strictly speaking. Rather, they are both the realizations that humanity has matured enough to come to, and naked facts - that present a serious dilemma for both Russia and the rest of the world.

Climate talks in Geneva began on February 8th gathering all countries to negotiate on climate change. Here countries will make the first draft of the global climate agreement before the next round of talks in June. All this is happening when media are full of news like: 2014 was the hottest year in history of research, largest companies refuse to investment in fossil fuel and energy prices from renewable energy caught up with oil and gas.

Traditionally, at the end of the year 2014 we made an overview of its most important outcomes. RSEU Climate Secretariat highlighted a few events that took place in Russia last year that seem to increase our country’s chances for green development.

ClimateProgress analysts state that despite the whirlwind of negative events that severely affected the world economy the year 2014 was marked by a number of significant positive events in terms of renewable energy development. According to environmental NGOs, these positive technological accomplishments have the ability to create the foundation for a stable world economy.

The large drop in oil prices will change the future of our climate, experts claim. If oil and gas consumption does not go down, we are bound to see the melting of ice caps and glaciers with the consequent sea level rise and an array of climate disasters by 2050. Experts and environmental NGOs are certain that now is time to get rid of the oil addiction and to take advantage of the current negative economic situation.

In the beginning of December, the Head of the Russian Government Dmitry Medvedev approved the implementation plan of the state program ‘Energy Efficiency and Energy Development’ for 2014-2016, which implies an approximately seven billion rubles increase in financing for energy projects. However, just a few days later, a Ministry of Energy representative declared that in the next three years the state support for regional energy efficiency programs was going to wind down to zero.

The current climate challenge is an opportunity, say the authors of the recently published New Climate Economy report, presented at the UN Climate Summit in Lima, Peru. Politicians do not need to choose between the economic growth and fighting climate change. What they have to do is just to make a bet on low-carbon development.

Experts are positive that forests will play a significant role in the new climate agreement. Russia, being so rich in forests, is interested in a proper inventory and accounting system for its forestry and land use, say Environmental NGOs. However, now is the time to create real economic mechanisms that are instrumental in forest conservation and restoration.

The participants of the recently concluded UN Climate Talks in Lima, Peru, eventually managed to come to terms on the draft agreement. The deal that emerged early on Sunday found a solution by changing a single word – “shall” to “may”, with regard to the obligations of the Parties. Environmental NGOs do welcome the progress of the negotiations, but believe there will be no real progress without fleshing out the text with something more specific.