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
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.
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)
Independent Experts League (Kamchatka)
Movement "For Life" (Kostroma Region)
"Kovyl" Non-Governmental Organization (Orel Region)
SPES (Nizhny Novgorod Region)