Interview with Nina Korobova

Nina Korobova, the Managing Director of Global Carbon, discussed environmental issues on the G8 summit agenda with Russia Today. 

Russia Today: Is the agreement that was made during the G8 summit discussions a breakthrough in efforts to tackle climate change?

Nina Korobova: I would say yes, and actually there are two other major results. First result is that the leaders of the G8 countries agreed on reductions of greenhouse gases emissions by 50% by 2050, which is very important. And the second thing which is also very important is that they agreed to do their best to work on the agreement that will form the legal basis for all post-Kyoto co-operations. I would say that it was a very good diplomatic decision by Angela Merkel to ask the U.S. to take the leading role in this process, thus the U.S. is brought back into the process and it will help to involve developing countries to do the commitments.

RT: Critics say it does not go far enough because it does not set mandatory targets for greenhouse gas emissions as Chancellor Merkel had called for. Do you agree?

N.K.: Yes, but I would say that it is the first step, because all mandatory targets should be justified. So, I would say that the next step will introduce the mandatory targets, but those that will be really accepted by the countries. And maybe this would be a matter for the next post-Kyoto agreement.

RT: Economic development has been at the top of the summit's agenda. However, such development may result in increased carbon emission. Is there a contradiction between these two targets?

N.K.: Yes, and this is one of the reasons why developing countries are not so eager to make the commitments, though you know that the EU countries and other countries would like them to join the Kyoto process. But these countries are extremely energy intensive and if we consider this in terms of energy intensity and carbon intensity, that means that they have a huge potential. And if they introduce new technologies that are less energy and carbon intensive than those being used by them today, that really can result in much better goals in these terms. And that means that if you establish some targets in terms of these relative indicators and also try to forecast the economic growth, and then by this calculation you will have the overall figure. Then, if this figure is properly justified it may lead to a real agreement on these targets among the countries.

RT: What is Russia's role in preventing global warming?

N.K.: I would say it is a very important role, because, as you know, Russian contribution to the global emission of greenhouse gases amounts to 17 %, so even if any measures are introduced in Russia, these are sizable results in terms of real emission reductions. And I think that Russia could play a more important role in political discussions and also in trying to involve developing countries to this process because, as we know, Russia has very good economic relationships with some of them, with India, for example. 

Earlier, Nina Korobova joined Russia Today to comment on the role the international community is playing in addressing the issue of climate change.

Russia Today: The UN Security Council is discussing the effect climate change is having on global peace and security. It is all very well to talk, but how cooperative will countries be when it comes to actually doing something?

Nina Korobova: I very much hope that the discussion of climate issue at such high level will push different countries to make more serious decisions, namely, such big emitters of greenhouse gases as China and India to take some commitments on the emission reductions. We also hope that  the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases as the United States will ratify Kyoto protocol and this will boost the cooperation within Kyoto protocol.

RT: Countries like China and India are developing so quickly. Why should they adhere to climate changes initiatives?  What financial incentives are there for countries to be concerned with climate change? 

N.K.: I would say this is a win-win situation for both sides. Countries like China and India will get the latest energy efficient technologies and funding sources for investments in energy efficiency. While the developed countries which have specific targets will comply with the targets with much less cost mode. In most of these countries GDP intensity is 3-4 times higher than in industrial countries. And definitely this is a huge field for the reduction of costs.

RT: What sort of role should non-governmental organizations play in dealing with climate change?

N.K.: NGO really can play an important role mostly in raising public awareness. It can be done among private companies, public authorities and population as well.  It can be done via mass media, organizing workshops, press conferences, and even introducing climate change issues and training courses in schools.   

RT: What is Russia's position?

N.K.: For Russia the cooperation within Kyoto protocol may be very beneficial. A very small, but important point is missing: the legal background for such cooperation.

RT: So these are legal and perhaps bureaucratic barriers as well?

N.K.: Yes.

RT: We are talking about negative effects of climate change. Isn