Environmental nongovernmental organizations of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus advocate the second period of the Kyoto Protocol. The shared position of these organizations emphasizes various aspects that would accompany this way. These are, among others, an educational purpose and question of confidence between the developed and the developing countries.
Wide-ranging measures to cut greenhouse gases emissions in the whole world as well as in every single country require not only a core of climate problem is understood but also a principle of carbon price is fixed in people’s awareness. Governments, business, and the entire population have to understand and get used to the fact that greenhouse gases emissions have their cost, and it is not small; and that cost is to be paid sooner or later. When carbon price principle takes root in people’s mind, it will be able to work even where climate changes are insignificant or even positive and people are not worried with the climate problem as such. For the climate process it is also very important so as to confidence would replace confrontation. But it is hardly possible if the developed countries deny the only legally binding document in the absence of a new treaty.
Without Kyoto-2, the carbon price principle will since 2013 continue operating in the EU, and its impact on other countries will be significant through, for instance, aviation charges, but indirect and affecting interests of a small number of people. If Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan actively participate in the Kyoto-2, if the JI projects are being implemented, it will be a vivid example of the carbon price at home. Even absence of Russia is unlikely to decrease the educational role. Business and population of Russia will see that due to the concourse of circumstances, carbn has no price in the country until 2020 but it’s just a question of time.
Participation of Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan, and in theory Russia, provokes concerns in relation to a large number of available ‘unused quotas’. That means transfer of unused in 2008-2012 годах quotas of Ukraine and Russia to the Kyoto-2 as well as low commitment targets for the CIS countries for 2020, i. e. potential ‘generation of new unused quotas’. These issues were actively discussed at the NGO seminar in Kiev in the end of April 2011. The discussion stressed that, on one hand, there is almost no large buyer for ‘unused quotas’. Small deals in the Eastern Europe do not make much effect, but in Ukraine they are highly disputable for purposeful and effective use of funds. Russia has never started sales under the target environmental investment scheme and their perspectives are doubtful. Do we need the carbon price being colored with shady tones of non-purposeful spending of funds, even if exaggerated by the mass media?
In the Kyoto-2, there are very little chances of any significant ‘classic’ quota sale by the CIS countries under the paragraph 17 of the Kyoto Protocol. But, on another hand, this option creates many problems. It may become a sticking point on the way of real JI projects under the Kyoto-2 as well as under the EU bilateral agreements. It can bury, or rather freeze for some time at the cooperation in the EU.
Statements about the complexity of the complementarity principle are unlikely serious. The JI projects whose complementarity is undoubted can always be found. Arguments on complexity of JI small projects and necessity for major programs are also inessential. There ia already experience available of the program CDM when dozens of small actions of the same kind, for instance on renewable energy, are put together in a single program. A pilot project is approved, and then as many as one wants analogous actions can be added to the program.
Perhaps, the best way out of the situation for the countries to host the JI projects would be a directly stated voluntary refusal of the paragraph 17 in the Kyoto-2. In this case, the fact of dramatic decrease in emissions in the CIS countries in 1990ies and, correspondingly, input of these countries to the global efforts is by no means abolished. Estimation of cumulative (total or average for a certain period) input for 1990-2050 should include everything. For instance, in a new global treaty the mentioned countries may take obligations for 2020–2030 in terms of cumulative input of 1990––2030.
In April 2011, according to the UN FCCC rules, all countries of the Appendix 1 submitted greenhouse gases emissions inventory data for 2009. It was a year of emission level fall due the financial crisis. Now it’s clear that ‘the gap’, in particular, for Russia is about 3% deep out of current emission level and about 2% of 1990 level. Ratios with the current level for Ukraine and Belarus are approximately the same. Information about the depth of ‘the gap’ was much looked forward, since now it is possible to estimate emission levels for 2020 more soundly.
Russia’s emission level in 2009 was 35% below 1990 level without taking into account forest accumulation, and 59% below 1990 level taking forest accumulation into account. In the period of economic growth of 2000-2008, emissions of Russia were annually growing at less than 1% of 1990 level. Therefore, under the analogous expectation of the similar growth in 2010ies (but without special measures on energy efficiency and energy saving) it’s reasonable to expect in 2020 the level 25% below 1990 level (forests not included). With the abovementioned measures that are currently being actively promoted by the Russian government, emissions should be lower. These considerations are contradicting the current edition of Russia’s pledges: 75-85% on 1990 level in 2020. Moreover, the FCCC recommendations are to reach emission cut of 25-40% by 2020.
Nongovernmental organizations rise obvious questions: if forests are taken into account in Russia’s pledges, then how is it possible to increase emissions in 10 years from 41% to 75-58% of 1990 level or twice? If the problem is forest aspect is too complicated for estimation, there is an obvious conclusion to separate the forest part; to give two separate figures in the pledges, one with no forests included and another one for forests. Unlike the strict format of obligation under, for instance, the Kyoto protocol, the pledges allow more complex formulations, including separate description of accumulation and emissions in forests. According to experts, without such explanations Russia is likely to meet tough critic on weakness of its pledges. The same opinion can be given toward Belarus and Ukraine for which it’s very advisable to clarify for the mass media and the NGOs what are the reasons for fast growth of emissions placed in their pledges. Instead, processes of economic development in Kazakhstan are somehow different and close to situations in a number of rapidly developing countries, therefore such critics of the Kazakhstan’s pledges would be ungrounded.
In line with the UN FCCC negotiating process, the G8 and G20 discussions, there is a fundamentally important process of national decision making on low carbon development. According to many experts and NGOs, even if a country does not do and not going to do anything for emissions cut it can’t stay aside the internal impact. If the major trade partners of a country take low carbon decisions (of various kinds, including very questionable ones) it will unavoidably affect export to these countries, and so the economy of an importer country, for instance Russia and Kazakhstan.