Below2C greets the head of the Russian delegation, Alexander Bedritsky, at the COP17 climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa, and encourages him to take decisive action to help prevent and combat climate change, as outlined below.

We urge the official delegation of the Russian Federation to take a proactive and constructive stance at the Durban climate talks in order to solve the most critical tasks that the world community is facing in these negotiations:

  • Developing and adopting a comprehensive and legally binding international climate deal.
  • Pending the adoption of such comprehensive and legally binding international climate deal, forging agreements to serve as a basis for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

We urge the Russian delegation to endorse the following key positions, which are fundamental to the goal of completing these tasks:

  1. All efforts must be applied to ensure that the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC makes its decision with regard to developing a comprehensive and legally binding international treaty.
  2. Before such a comprehensive and legally binding international treaty is adopted within the UNFCCC, the Parties must agree on the second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol. Until the second commitment period is established, developing countries will not feel ready to assume reciprocal commitments and accept obligations that will come with the new agreement. A positive decision taken in Durban with regard to the second commitment period will facilitate negotiations over the new agreement under the UNFCCC.
  3. Russia must by 2020 keep its emissions of all greenhouse gases, overall and accounting for the absorption potential of Russia’s forests, at a level not exceeding 60 percent of 1990 levels. Russia must commit to a strategic goal of reducing by 2050 its emissions comprehensively, all sources and sinks considered, by at least 50 percent compared to 1990 levels, and work toward a more ambitious goal of an 80 percent reduction.
  4. International emissions trading must be discontinued starting from 2013. This mechanism creates more challenges than it effects good results, and provides no real contribution to combating global climate change.

There must be no carry-over of unused emission quotas into the next Kyoto Protocol commitment periods. The issues of carry-over of units to assess compliance and adjust the fulfilment progress for commitments in 2015 can be settled via project mechanisms (i.e., using a policy-based approach). Unused quotas must be viewed as an irredeemable long-term contribution by participant nations toward curbing global emissions within the period between 1990 and 2050.

Steps must be taken to preserve such Kyoto Flexibility Mechanisms as Joint Implementation (JI) projects and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). We believe that priority should be formally assigned to such JI and CDM projects that assure specific and sustainable social and ecological benefits – first and foremost, renewable energy development and energy efficiency projects. In all projects, the envisioned beneficial social and ecological effects must be clear and measurable.

Nuclear energy projects must be excluded from the JI and CDM mechanisms.

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