UPDATE: Bellona-Murmansk to host Russian climate policy side event in Copenhagen

Publish date: December 3, 2009

MURMANSK – With roughly 1,700 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year and a projected steady annual growth rate, the Russian Federation follows the United States and China as the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, thereby significantly contributing to climate change. Russian action is therefore crucial for success in the attempts to stem the tide of global warming and mitigate its effects.

To this end, Bellona will be hosting a side event from 13:00 to 14:00 at the Bellona Room in the Bella Center in Copenhagen on Tuesday, December 8th entitled “Climate Policy in Russia.” Speakers will include representatives of Bellona, Ecodefence and the World Wildlife Fund, Russia.

Rising temperatures and extreme weather conditions will lead to non-uniform distribution of precipitation in cold and warm seasons, a growth of annual river throughput, an increase in size of underground waters, shifts of climatic zone borders, spread of desertification, more frequent river floods and poor harvests in Russia.

The Arctic region is experiencing some of the fastest rates of climate change. The most worrying consequence of a general rise in temperature, however, is an accelerated thawing of the Russian permafrost, which occupies more than 60 percent of the country’s northern regions. This constitutes a serious threat to Russian infrastructure. Thawing permafrost will affect Russia’s energy pipeline infrastructure, leading to increased gas leaks, oil spills and water supply disruptions. In addition, such a thaw will leave swamps in its wake that can become breeding grounds for infectious diseases.

In the context of such threats, it might be expected that Russian action to tackle climate change would be decisive. Instead, the Russian authorities have displayed a marked unwillingness to take these threats seriously. The country has been more or less invisible in the political discussions.

This session will focus on the internal climate policy of Russia as well as its position in the international climate talks, and shed light on the reasons for its passive approach, the commitments that the country has already made and the obligations, which are feasible.  

Speakers (in order of presentation)

  1.      Nina Lesikhina, Bellona Foundation (5 minutes) — Serving as moderator, provides an introduction to     the event focusing on specific consequences of climate change for Russia and the unwillingness of the Russian Government to take these threats seriously.
  2.      Aleksey Kokorin, WWF-Russia (15 minutes) — Provides an overview of the official position of Russia on COP-15, the obligations already announced and what can be really done by Russia.
  3.     Elena Kobets, Bellona Foundation (10 minutes)— Provides an overview of the latest scientific information regarding the contribution of Russian Fires to BC in the Arctic region.
  4.     Vladimir Slivyak, Ecodefense (10 minutes) — Provides an analysis of the reasons and consequences of the inefficient climate policy in Russia.
  5.     Nina Lesikhina (Moderator)— Provides closing remarks (5 minutes), and moderates Question/Answer session (15 minutes) for the entire panel of speakers.

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