President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Chairman, Mr Secretary-General of the United Nations, heads of state and government, ladies and gentlemen,
Today’s summit is evidence of the unprecedented attention we are giving to climate change. It is also evidence that we clearly underestimated the difficulties involved in reaching accords, and not just producing a legally binding agreement, but even drafting a general declaration. Obviously, global climate change is a very complex issue and there are different points of view. Some are confident that we can abolish the threats and eliminate the dangers, while others say that the situation does not depend on our actions alone, and that we must therefore be very careful in our intervention. Whatever the case, we have a duty to do everything we can to ensure that humanity’s impact on nature causes as little harm as possible.
This is why, as the first stage of the Kyoto Protocol comes to an end in 2012, we need to put a more modern and effective mechanism in place, a working legal agreement that will regulate international cooperation. This should be a universal agreement based on the principles of fairness and common responsibility, with different countries bearing different shares of the responsibility according to their development levels.
Speaking just before from this tribune, the prime minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh, said that the countries suffering the most from the problems caused by climate change are those either not at all or in the smallest part responsible for it in the first place. This is indeed the case, and this is why we must bear different shares of the responsibility. But we have to design an instrument that works, and we have to reach accords on principles that we can put into actual practical use. This is not easy. I remember when the Russian Federation decided to become a party to the Kyoto Protocol. There was a tremendous amount of debate. But we made this decision and we think it was the right one.
Russia is the world leader today in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Over the last 17 years our emissions have dropped 30 percent compared to the level they were at in 1990. Our country accounts for half of all reduction in emissions in the world over the last 20 years. This has gone a long way towards offsetting increases in harmful emissions in other countries.
At the same time, Russia has maintained its place as one of the world’s biggest producers and exporters of energy resources and energy-intensive goods. We will continue to play our part in ensuring global energy security.
But for all this, we think that we still need to do a lot more. The Russian Federation is ready to take part in drafting a legally binding agreement and is ready to set emission targets and commit itself to an unprecedented cumulative reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of more than 30 billion tons between 1990 and 2020 which is equivalent to a 25 percent drop in emissions over this period
I want to stress that we will pursue these efforts regardless of whether or not we manage here to agree on the basic principles and regardless of whether or not we reach a legally binding agreement. We will do this for the simple reason that it is in our own best interests. We think that other countries should take this same approach. We all have an interest in radically improving the state of our environment.
A global agreement must take into account the role played by forests – the main absorbers of greenhouse gases. It should also provide for acceptable conditions for transferring modern technology to developing countries. State financing should be used above all to encourage private investment, and also to implement adaptation measures in the countries worst affected by the consequences of climate change. Only then will modernisation become truly accessible for all.
Practically every nation on our planet is here in this huge hall today to discuss the global climate deal, and this is not an empty slogan, but is a real chance to spread the use of clean, energy-efficient and low-emission technology on a large scale. We simply must make use of this opportunity. This is a chance for new scientific solutions, green economic growth and green investment all around the world. Ultimately, the measures we implement to protect our climate will help to resolve global environmental problems and social and economic problems too, and help to achieve those very same millennium development goals that we set some time ago.
I stress that Russia is ready to play the most active part in all of this processes. We recognise our share of the responsibility and this is the guideline in our efforts.
Judging by the way discussions are going here in this hall and in the narrow-format meetings and working groups, we still have a long and difficult road ahead. But we should not lose heart, for humanity has had to resolve difficult issues in the past, and we have learned to come up with harmonious solutions.
I hope that we will soon have a Road Map to speak of, the implementation of which will take us towards a global agreement.
Thank you for your attention.