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Russia will participate in the second period of the Kyoto Protocol all the same

September 06, 2012, 12:05 UTC+3

The Russian authorities ceased to consider the climatic policy only as a domestic affair of the country

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The Russian authorities ceased to consider the climatic policy only as a domestic affair of the country, the Kommersant daily reported. The newspaper reported that the officials under the influence of business associations decided that Russia will participate in the second period of the Kyoto Protocol all the same. The final negotiating position will be put forward by the next round of the climatic negotiations, which will be held in Doha in December 2012. Meanwhile, the authorities and the business still did not find a compromise in such essential issues as what target Russia will have for the cuts of carbon discharges by 2020 and whether Russian domestic regulations and a market to attain the goal are needed.

Right before July 2012 the position of Russian officials over the prospects of Russia’s participation in the second period of the Kyoto Protocol and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was definite. An international agreement, in which the countries that make the most massive greenhouse gas emissions, including China, the United States, Brazil, India and Japan do not participate, is senseless in terms of ecology. Instead of Russia’s participation in Kyoto-2 in late April 2012 Russian presidential advisor for climate change Alexander Bedritsky has made an initiative to the Kremlin to fix in the legislation “a national (not legally-binding on the international level) goal” to reduce carbon emissions until 2020 and develop an action plan to attain the goal.

It seemed that the decision of the Russian authorities not to participate in the second Kyoto period was firm, until the last moment Vladimir Putin took “the trade in quotas” in a very sceptical way. Meanwhile, the participants in the meetings did not only discuss domestic ways of carbon regulations in Russia at the meetings, where the mechanisms and prospects of carbon regulations in Russia were discussed. The scope of bids on the joint projects of Russian companies during the first Kyoto period has already exceeded the quota of 300 million tonnes set by the government by that time (their owners are mainly members of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurship), and the companies continued to implement the projects with the greenhouse gas emission cuts envisaged in them and contracted until 2020. The businessmen succeeded to convince the officials of the fact that excessive investments do not hamper them at all. “The second period of commitments on the Kyoto Protocol will make it possible to participate actively in the drafting of a global international agreement for the interests of Russia and Russian business,” co-chairman of the working group from Other Russia Yuri Fedorov believes.

The Ministry of Economic Development has drafted the amendments to a resolution, which regulate this market, and submitted it for coordination in the ministries on September 1. The resolution offers to allocate some of reserved Kyoto state quotas (about six billion tonnes of the CO2-equivalent) to the companies at the discretion of the Ministry of Economic Development. The essential agreement on Russia’s participation during the second period of the Kyoto Protocol was confirmed in the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Meanwhile, the question is still open about the final size of Russian commitments during the second period (last time at the June conference in Rio de Janeiro Dmitry Medvedev set the target of 25%) and whether they will be fixed in the Russian domestic legislation and provided with a concrete action plan.

Other Russia representatives call for Russian domestic restrictions and the gradual advance to the creation of a domestic market in the trade with greenhouse gas emissions. The Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurship, which is ready to trade the carbon cuts only in the framework of the Kyoto Protocol, such initiatives are taken as malign for the carbon-intensive industry.

Meanwhile, a representative of one of the largest Russian industrial companies outlined the essence of the problem, “Actually the business does not believe to incumbent officials, all of them are shocked by the level of their incompetence, the domestic carbon regulation is a potentially strong instrument of pressure. To give this lever to them means to destine themselves to the fact that decisions will be taken at a higher price on the part of the companies,” the businessman underlined.



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