Russian Scientists For Kyoto Protocol

Press release - 11 April, 2003
Moscow, 11 April 2003. Today representatives of Russian non-governmental organizations (see the list of organizations below) passed and handed over to the President's Administration an Appeal to the President of the Russian Federation and Prime Minister of the Russian Government signed by over 250 members of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Doctors of Sciences and Professors. Most widely known Russian scientists appeal directly to the heads of state asking them to send the Kyoto Protocol on Global Climate Change to the State Duma for ratification.

Possible consequences of climate change

Moscow, 11 April 2003. Today representatives of Russian non-governmental organizations (see the list of organizations below) passed and handed over to the President's Administration an Appeal to the President of the Russian Federation and Prime Minister of the Russian Government signed by over 250 members of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Doctors of Sciences and Professors. Most widely known Russian scientists appeal directly to the heads of state asking them to send the Kyoto Protocol on Global Climate Change to the State Duma for ratification. Such an unexampled step was caused either by inability of Russian ministries and governmental agencies to produce a basic set of documents required for ratification of the Kyoto Protocol or their deliberate undermining of the preparation process.

One year ago, on April 11, 2002, the Russian Federation Government issued an instruction giving the Ministry of Economic Development and State Hydrometeorology Committee 3 months to prepare the necessary documents (including the draft law on ratification of the Protocol) and submit them to the Government for consideration and approval. A year has passed, but things are still where they started: the Government has not received even the draft ratification law, yet. Numerous statements by President Putin and Prime Minister Kasyanov saying that Russia is planning to ratify the Kyoto Protocol in the near future remain hanging in the year.

Back in 2000, 63 Academies of Sciences throughout the world issued a joint statement urging that early ratification of the Kyoto Protocol is vital for conservation of the environment. Today leading Russian scientists have joined the world scientific community warning that time for deciding on ratification of the Kyoto Protocol is running out.

The main obstacle to ratification of the Protocol is the Ministry of Economic Development as it is exactly this agency that was to have prepared the papers for the Government. And add to this the statement of Deputy Minister of Economic Development M. Tsykanov made at the Johannesburg summit and in fact refuting the statement made also there by Prime Minister Kasyanov: "Russia may decline ratification of the protocol as there are almost no economic incentives for it".

"The position of the Ministry of Economic Development is like bazaar bargaining: what if we rip off a larger 'piece'?", says Natalya Olefirenko, a representative of Greenpeace Russia. "The Ministry claims that it sees no economic sense in the protocol ratification. We believe this statement has nothing to do with reality. Even according to the most pessimistic estimates, in the Protocol implementation period (until 2012) Russia could earn some 20 billion USD. But only if the Protocol is ratified now".

The investments within the Kyoto Protocol may go to development of energy efficiency methods and new equipment, which, as medical experts from the Russian Academy of Sciences and Russian Academy of Medical Sciences believe, might prevent over 40,000 deaths annually caused by air contamination with fine particles, sulfur oxides and heavy metals accompanying emissions of greenhouse gases.

Background information.

The Kyoto Protocol of the UN Framework Convention of Global Climate Change is the only international instrument aiming to cut down emissions of greenhouse gases. The protocol will work until 2012, but in order to come into force it should be ratified by at least 55 countries responsible for emission of 55% of all greenhouse gases (according to 1990 data). So far the Kyoto Protocol has been ratified by 106 nations with total share of greenhouse gas emissions reaching only 41%. That is why ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by the Russian Federation (that in 1990 emitted 17.4% of the world's greenhouse gases) is so important for the Protocol to become effective.

Among leading Russian scientists who have put their name under the Appeal are:

G. Golitsyn - member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Director of the Obukhov Atmospheric Physics Institute;

A. Isaev - member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Director of the Center for Environmental and Forest Productivity Issues of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

N. Shmelev - member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Director of the Europe Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

N. Petrakov - member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Director of the Institute of Market Problems.

V. Zhurkin - member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Europe Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

I. Atabekov - member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Biology Department of the Moscow State University.

List of the organizations

Baikal Environmental Wave (Irkutsk Region)

Bureau of Regional Public Campaigns (Primorye Region)

Greenpeace Russia

Independent Experts League (Kamchatka)

Movement "For Life" (Kostroma Region)

"Kovyl" Non-Governmental Organization (Orel Region)

SPES (Nizhny Novgorod Region)

Categories
Tags