Special Presidential Representative On Climate Issues Alexander Bedritsky: Respected President, Distinguished Secretary General of the United Nations, Delegates, Ladies and gentlemen,
Climate Change is a world ultimatum, which demands a commensurate response from the international community. The recent conclusions of the IPCC, stating that it is extremely likely that human influence has, indeed, been the dominant cause of observed global warming, confirm the need to immediately initiate a more effective mechanism to lighten the anthropogenic load on the climate system. A general understanding of the architecture of a new climate agreement was reached in Durban.
The main objective of such a new agreement is to foster broad participation of countries in efforts to reduce human influence on the climate. The new climate agreement should be based on the principles of the Convention, such as common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities of countries. The division of countries into Annex-I and -II categories, which dates back to the 1990s, is now obsolete. The balance of world emitters has since shifted. (According to the IEA, overall emissions from developing countries have been exceeding those from Annex-I countries since 2008. In 2012, they accounted for 54% of the global total.) At the same time, the economic and technical capabilities of certain developing countries have improved—particularly those of the world’s so called “economic powerhouses”. Moreover, mechanisms for international financial assistance for climate interventions have been set up in developing countries. In 2011, the Russian Federation introduced an amendment to the UNFCCC to allow for the periodic review and, where appropriate, reassessment of Annexes I and II in light of new information.
The Russian Federation is determined to promptly layout the specifics of a new agreement, e.g. define the length of the commitment period and the “basket” of greenhouse gases to be regulated. The LULUCF component should therefore be an important part of the new agreement. Conservation and support of productivity of forestry has a key importance for mitigation of anthropogenic impact on climate. The Boreal forests store more than twice as much carbon as any other terrestrial ecosystem and almost twice as much as tropical forests.
We favor the bottom-up approach to country commitments. The alternative (top-down approach) has not proven successful in the multilateral process. The most preferable format for a new agreement is, in our view, a protocol to the Convention, which would have a commitment period of no less than 10 years.
The accession instrument for the agreement should promote universality and should not prefabricate needless constraints. We must learn from the lessons of Kyoto and improve the commitment-making mechanism such that it simplifies the types of issues, which, for example, stymied Belarus’s accession to Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol during the first period.
Countries must meet their commitments, including in the interim before the entry into force of a new agreement. According to UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report 2013, many countries still require additional incentives to meet their emissions reductions targets by 2020. We have repeatedly stated that, in the current absence of an agreement covering the period up to 2020 (although the 2nd KP commitment period does regulate about 15% of global emissions), we believe it is necessary to recognize national 2020 pledges made under the Convention by a special decision of the Conference of the Parties. It would bolster faith in the negotiation process and heighten countries’ sense of responsibility.
The Russian target of reducing GHG emissions by 25% compared to 1990s’ levels by the year 2020 is enshrined in a Presidential decree signed in September of this year. As it remains a party to the KP, the Russian Federation will continue to meet all of its commitments (quantified and others). It can be safely said that we successfully met the first period’s commitments. Economic growth from 1990 to 2011 was accompanied by a considerable reduction in GHG emissions. While our GDP grew by 12%, GHG emissions fell by 31%. Russia has started implementating of state programmes in key economic sectors built on the basis of strategies of low-carbon development.
Next February, the Winter Olympic Games will open in Sochi. These will be the first carbon-neutral games in Olympic history. Russia is working closely with UNEP to ensure that these games are genuinely “green”.
Adaptation to climate change should become a climate policy priority everywhere. Extreme weather events cause mass destruction and loss of human life in developing and developed countries alike. We express solidarity with the people of the Philippines and wish a speedy recovery for all victims of the typhoon and timely remedy of all affected areas. We believe that efforts in the medium-term should focus on increasing the effectiveness of existing technical, financial and adaptation mechanisms, which are building the capacity of developing countries (including to cope with loss and damage). Here, the focus should be on supporting existing mechanisms rather than creating entirely new ones.
We are pleased that countries have accepted the Russian proposal, submitted in conjunction with partner economies in transition, to revisit the decision-making procedure of the UNFCCC which allows to strengthen mutual trust in the negotiations on a new climate agreement. The Russian Federation supports the initiative of the Secretary General of the United Nations to hold a high-level climate summit in September 2014. We expect that this will be a significant contribution to the achievement of a comprehensive climate agreement.
In the upcoming year we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention. It would be highly symbolic if that were to be the very year in which peak progress was made on the conclusion of a new climate agreement. Such an agreement shall not only serve as the logical continuation of the multilateral cooperation began in 1994, but shall also elevate that cooperation to a qualitatively new level, by giving the whole world a way to participate in mitigating mankind’s influence on the climate.
I thank you for your kind attention.