President Dmitry Medvedev has unveiled a rather curious environment plan to put greenhouse gas emissions back to the level they were at in 1990 – which essential means a 30% increase. At least they are talking about the issue, point out some environmentalists with diminished expectations….
As countries announce their emissions targets in advance of the talks in Copenhagen this December, there’s been some maneuvering on this issue. The Australian delegation has proposed a plan that would allow each country to submit its own schedule for reducing emissions, effectively allowing them to choose their own baseline year. Japan would like to use 2005, because the country’s emissions have been creeping up in recent years.
All this, of course, has to do with politics. Nations that commit to emissions targets want other countries to try just as hard. It’s easier for politicians to sell belt-tightening at home if it appears that everyone in the international community is shouldering an equal burden.
And on that front, Russia’s plan looks like a dud.
The country isthe third-largest emitter behind the United States and China. Still, asof 2006, its emissions were 37 percent below 1990 levels.
In other words, Russia’s climate plan is a do-nothing plan.
The one bright spot, say environmental groups, is that Russia issaying anything at all. “Russia has been a huge unknown quantity in theinternational negotiations,” said Jake Schmidt, International ClimatePolicy Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. Even if thisfirst bid falls well short of what negotiators hope for in December,having the country engage is a positive development, he added.