Climate Change: Russian factsheet

Ambassador's view
Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Deputy foreign minister (2005-2011). Follow him on Twitter @Amb_Yakovenko
Climate Change: Russian factsheet
Climate change is one of major global challenges in the 21st century, which goes beyond pure science and represents a complex interdisciplinary problem that covers environmental, economic and social aspects of sustainable development in the world.

Russia is taking part in developing collective measures by the world community to mitigate the human-made impact on the climate. International cooperation in responding to the global and regional challenges of climate change is aimed at finding efficient solutions to the problem, taking into account global factors and national interests.

We believe that a comprehensive, long-term solution to the climate problem is only possible if the universal character of the relevant international regime is ensured and all major greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters participate in it, based on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change principles. The commitments and contributions of developed and developing countries may differ in size, but they should all be enshrined in a single international legal document to be legally binding.

In recent years, Russia has been actively participating in the international cooperation on climate issues and is the world leader in terms of emission cuts. Over the last two decades, Russia has managed to reduce its total emissions in the energy sector by roughly the same amount that the EU has emitted over five years, and the US over three.

Current Russian state policy is to pursue low-carbon development. Thanks to structural optimization and energy efficiency policies, the carbon intensity of Russian GDP has fallen threefold in the period 1990 to 2011. Following the Copenhagen Accord, our target is to decrease the energy intensity of GDP by 13.5% by 2020. In 2013, we set forth the national goal of cutting anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 by 25 percent below the 1990 level. Naturally, the final value of this indicator will depend on our country’s actual socio-economic circumstances and the global political and economic climate, as well on the commitments undertaken by major emitting countries.

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As per the plan adopted to achieve this objective, an inventory of GHG emissions is being created, a system of state support for projects aimed at emissions reduction is being put in place, pilot projects are being prepared for implementation, as well as an emissions regulation system.

Russia is encouraging research and development in the field of energy efficiency, expanded use of renewable energy sources, greenhouse gas sink technologies and environmentally acceptable innovative technologies. Taking into account the economic and social development programs as well as the emission control measures, Russia is expected to stabilize its energy consumption and even lower it after 2030. The increase in energy efficiency and the share of non-hydrocarbon fuels in energy generation is ensured through a number of new development strategies for various sectors of the Russian economy.

For instance, the share of biofuels in overall fuel consumption is expected to grow by 8 percent by 2018. In cumulative agricultural and timber waste, the share of energy recovery from waste related to agriculture, timber processing as well as food industry will increase from 3 percent in 2012 to 80 percent in 2018.

Russia is interested in developing emissions reduction incentives and in exchanging practices in this sphere. We believe that before signing the new climate agreement, state parties should decide on market mechanisms which will help countries to meet their commitments for the post-2020 period.

According to the World Meteorological Organization, the atmospheric concentration of GHG has hit a record high. The time factor and scale of the problem require urgent and joint actions. We are determined to contribute to the conclusion of a new climate agreement in 2015.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.