econintersect.com
       
  

FREE NEWSLETTER: Econintersect sends a nightly newsletter highlighting news events of the day, and providing a summary of new articles posted on the website. Econintersect will not sell or pass your email address to others per our privacy policy. You can cancel this subscription at any time by selecting the unsubscribing link in the footer of each email.



posted on 26 November 2015

Paris Climate Talks: Russia Will Use Its Huge Forests As A Bargaining Chip

from The Conversation

-- this post authored by Marianna Poberezhskaya, Nottingham Trent University

Russia has a reputation as one of the more difficult states involved in international climate negotiations - and don't expect things to change at the latest UN conference in Paris. After all, this is a country with vast oil and gas reserves, brutal winters and a strong sense of its own economic self-interest.

Three main factors will influence Russia's strategy at the talks. It will want strong recognition of the role forests play in the climate, which would put the country and its 640 billion trees in a good position from which to negotiate emissions reductions.

It will also want commitments from other countries before signing up to a deal - Russia is one of the strongest supporters of the "common but differentiated responsibility" principle in climate politics.

Finally, the country is very unlikely to commit to a deal that will put any pressure on its economic development.

As one of the largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters in the world, Russia has previously been among the countries standing in the way of global climate agreements. It took more than six years for Moscow to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, for instance, which eventually brought the treaty into effect.

This behaviour was explained by political and economic issues which often had little connection with the climate itself - the Kyoto ratification was also held up by negotiations on WTO accession, for instance.

Yet this time round the headline pledge is, on the surface, very strong. Russia's Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) submitted in March 2015 commits the country to cutting its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 25-30% of the 1990 level by the year 2030.

Hundreds of billions of trees can store a lot of carbon. Tatiana Bulyonkova, CC BY-SA

Such cuts will be possible, Russia says, as it has already broken free from the direct correlation between economic development and GHG emissions. The INDC points out that between 2000 and 2012, for instance, GDP increased 72.9% while GHG emissions increased by just 11.8%. Despite this, Russia's economy is still considered carbon-intensive due to continuing high levels of emissions per unit of GDP. This is mostly explained by its natural resources, severe winters and outdated and energy-inefficient buildings and infrastructure.

Climate change has slowly entered Russia's official and public discourse. Even the president, Vladimir Putin, is talking about it these days - he mentioned climate change during the latest UN General Assembly meeting. The latest pledge is certainly a step up from previous promises such as in Copenhagen where Russia only committed to a 15-20% GHG reduction, and the country's government has set out its plans to address climate change in presidential decrees, national laws, an official climate doctrine and even the state's energy strategy.

Read the small print

However the economic collapse which followed the dissolution of the USSR makes it far easier to reach any target pegged to 1990 levels. Most of the country's heavy polluting industries failed, causing emissions to drop hugely throughout the 1990s - and they haven't yet recovered. In fact, to achieve its latest targets, Russia doesn't even need to cut its emissions.

A large oil refinery in Bashkortostan, central Russia. Oil has become increasingly important to the country's economy. Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters

Furthermore, some of the energy efficiency steps which can be counted towards the climate mitigation strategy, such as the modernisation of the energy sector or improvements in the energy efficiency of buildings are in Russia's best economic interests. It is likely they would have been considered anyway, even without any international obligations.

Russian resources - good and bad

Traditionally Russia places particular emphasis on the huge taiga which covers much of Siberia and contains more than 70% of the world's boreal forest. The INDC specifically mentions that the pledge is "subject to the maximum possible account of absorbing capacity of forests", which in turn is supposed to give some leeway for other industries to continue emitting. However, Russian environmentalists and specialists doubt the forests will have as much impact on the state's emissions as the government claims.

The Russian economy is shaped by the country's gas reserves - the world's largest. The largest gas, oil and electricity companies are either directly owned by the state or share very close ties with it. Concepts of energy and state security go hand-in-hand in Russia and fossil fuels are often seen as an important political tool, as demonstrated in numerous gas disputes with neighbouring Ukraine, Belarus and others.

All this means Russia is unlikely to spring any surprises in Paris. It will most likely continue to communicate the same message of pursuing a 25-30% GHG emissions cut, while underlining the importance of its forests and that the "common but differentiated responsibility" principle must be observed. Russia will keep prioritising its economic and political stability, thus, any commitments will be the result of careful calculations of whether they will upset that balance.

The ConversationMarianna Poberezhskaya, Lecturer in International Relations, Nottingham Trent University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

>>>>> Scroll down to view and make comments <<<<<<

Click here for Historical News Post Listing










Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted.  As the internet is a "war zone" of trolls, hackers and spammers - Econintersect must balance its defences against ease of commenting.  We have joined with Livefyre to manage our comment streams.

To comment, using Livefyre just click the "Sign In" button at the top-left corner of the comment box below. You can create a commenting account using your favorite social network such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Open ID - or open a Livefyre account using your email address.



You can also comment using Facebook directly using he comment block below.





Econintersect Contributors


search_box

Print this page or create a PDF file of this page
Print Friendly and PDF


The growing use of ad blocking software is creating a shortfall in covering our fixed expenses. Please consider a donation to Econintersect to allow continuing output of quality and balanced financial and economic news and analysis.


Take a look at what is going on inside of Econintersect.com
Main Home
Analysis Blog
The Problem With Obamacare Is That It Did Little To Reduce Overall Healthcare Spending
Joan Robinson’s Critique of Marginal Utility Theory
News Blog
Early Headlines: New Oil Pact, Facebook Should Crush Fake News, Trump Vs CIA, Dow 20,000?, Twin Bombings In Turkey, India Currrency SNAFU, New Charges In So. Korea, US-China Trade War? And More
Free Autographed Copies Of Frank Li's New Book Available - If You Act Fast
Most Women Inventors Come From America
Earnings And Economic Reports: Week Starting 12 December 2016
The U.S. Is Home To The Most Unicorns
Why Britain's Public Finances Will Suffer If Brexit Reduces Migration
Working From Home Is Still Rare In The United States
What We Read Today 10 December 2016
The Last Bucket Catch
Joe Sixpack's Situation in 3Q2016: The Average Joe Is Better Off
Why Are Some People More Delinquent On Loans Than Others? - Part 1
Gravity Returns To San Francisco Housing Market
Violent Bond Selloff: An Eye-Opening Perspective
Investing Blog
The Week Ahead: Dow 20,000 Just Ahead?
Natural Gas Prices Are Headed Higher In 2017
Opinion Blog
Is Commercial Real Estate Facing A Day Of Reckoning?
The US Has A Regime-Uncertainty Problem
Precious Metals Blog
Silver Prices Rebounded Today: Where They Are Headed
Live Markets
09Dec2016 Market Close: Wall Street Closes On A New High, Trump Sugar High, Crude Prices Testing Resistance, US Dollar Melts Higher
Amazon Books & More






.... and keep up with economic news using our dynamic economic newspapers with the largest international coverage on the internet
Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government



Crowdfunding ....






























 navigate econintersect.com

Blogs

Analysis Blog
News Blog
Investing Blog
Opinion Blog
Precious Metals Blog
Markets Blog
Video of the Day
Weather

Newspapers

Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government
     

RSS Feeds / Social Media

Combined Econintersect Feed
Google+
Facebook
Twitter
Digg

Free Newsletter

Marketplace - Books & More

Economic Forecast

Content Contribution

Contact

About

  Top Economics Site

Investing.com Contributor TalkMarkets Contributor Finance Blogs Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2016 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved