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Doha: Russia backsliding on 25% emissions reduction goal

By Olga Dobrovidova

A draft presidential decree seen by RIA Novosti shows that Russia might be backing away from an unconditional 25% emission reduction target announced by Prime Minister Medvedev during the Rio+20 summit in June to its 15-25% range stated in the 2009 Copenhagen Accord.

The Russian government, which remains entrenched in its refusal to join Kyoto second commitment period, has been contemplating a firmer 2020 goal on the national level for several months.

The first draft document prepared by the national Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in August mentioned a 20% target which was subsequently questioned by other ministries and business as inconsistent with Medvedev’s announcement in Rio.

The target was then increased to 25%, and officials expected the decree to be signed by President Putin by the end of 2012.

Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich after his meeting with parties in the national Kyoto debate on 27 November told the news agency that he wanted the draft decree to be ready within a week.

This led many to believe that a legally binding national goal might be announced by Russia’s climate change envoy and head of delegation in Doha, Alexander Bedritsky, in his speech at the high-level segment.

Aside from a less ambitious target, experts are also concerned that the new decree drops any mentioning of LULUCF exclusion.

This could in essence mean a some 20% weaker commitment, since Russia’s GHG emissions when accounted for forest sinks in 2010 were around 55% below 1990 levels – compared to around 34% below 1990 without LULUCF.

The new 15-25% draft is accompanied by instructions for various ministries to review the document as fast as possible, dated 3 December.

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