Russia slammed for stalling climate talks

Jun 08, 2013
Russia slammed for stalling climate talks

Climate Action Network (CAN) has slammed blocking moves by Russia which have stalled progress during the first week of the UN climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany.

CAN – a network of over 850 NGOs all working together to combat climate change – voted to give Russia the nation the weekly fossil award for the country which does the most to block progress in the talks a day early.

The Fossil of the Day awards were first presented at the climate talks in 1999, in Bonn, initiated by the German NGO Forum. During United Nations climate change negotiations, members of the Climate Action Network (CAN), vote for countries judged to have done their ‘best’ to block progress in the negotiations in the last days of talks.

Kaisa Kosonen, senior political adviser from Greenpeace International, said so far five days have been wasted as Moscow insisted the rules on agreeing laws in the UN climate process be discussed – meaning many negotiation sessions could not begin – and all efforts at compromise so far have been blocked.

“It’s in everybody’s interest that the rules of the game are respected, but frankly, the Russians broke the rules first by pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol and by not taking any climate action even though they are a major emitter,” Kosonen said.

Moscow’s actions seem to stem from their anger over the way their objections to the Doha Decision – which quite rightly removed tons of poor quality emissions permits from the system – at last year’s major climate talks was ignored.

However, governments have as few as five negotiating sessions left before the 2015 climate agreement has to be signed. This behavior derails progress towards this deadline.

It comes as science finally re-enters these political negotiations with the kick off of the First Periodical Review to measure the adequacy of and the progress towards the global agreement to limit temperature rise to 2 degrees C.

Scientists told country delegates that the 2 degree limit was still achievable – but its clear there remains a huge gulf between the action governments have currently committed to and what the world needs.

Furthermore, with deadly climate impacts already being felt around the world and the carbon concentration breaking through the 400 ppm landmark, scientists said the world is currently experiencing the “worst-case climate change scenario” envisaged by the IPCC in 1990.

The kind of progress that Russia is blocking includes workshops that would help developing countries do more on climate. For example, unable to proceed are: a workshop designed to help developing countries prepare and implement emissions reduction targets and efforts to help developing countries implement forest related emission reduction efforts more effectively

This process has the real potential to change lives on the ground by agreeing a global agreement that provides assistance to countries looking to use technology to adapt to the impacts of climate change and reduce their emissions, but right now the interests of a few are holding back its potential to move forward.

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