• Over the last 30 years, Russia has kept its greenhouse gas emissions at 30 per cent below the baseline 1990 level.
• Only 13 per cent of its electricity is generated from coal, while the rest comes from natural gas, hydro, nuclear and renewable sources.
In the wake of the recent Madrid Conference on Climate and the heated debate that accompanied it, I would like to familiarise the Kenyan public with Russia’s contribution to curbing greenhouse gas emissions globally and our approach to climate change, which is undoubtedly one of the most serious challenges that humanity is facing today.
From the inception of the international climate process, Russia has always played an active and constructive role in it. Russia is a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement.
The obligations that my country took upon itself under these global multilateral agreements have not only been fully implemented but over-fulfilled. Over the last 30 years, we have kept our greenhouse gas emissions at 30 per cent below the baseline 1990 level, which in physical terms, constitutes a reduction of 41 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. Therefore, our performance in this field is among the best in the world.
The Russian approach to combatting climate change is based on responsibility, consistency and realism. Thus, we have managed to decouple economic growth from the increase of greenhouse gas emissions. Over the last 20 years, our GDP has more than doubled while the emissions have remained roughly at the same level (around 30 per cent below 1990).
Key to that was technological progress and general 'greening' of the economy. For example, in its current structure, Russia’s energy sector has become 87 per cent clean and climate-friendly.
Only 13 per cent of electricity is generated from coal, while the rest comes from natural gas, hydro, nuclear and renewable sources. This figure is expected to improve further as a result of the planned expansion of the generation from solar, wind, geothermal among other renewable sources of energy.
Serious efforts are being deployed to improve energy efficiency in industry, housing and transport. Additional effects are added by better waste management technologies, improved planning and organisation of public transport in Russian cities.
A multi-billion national project 'Environment' has been launched recently to create incentives for Russian business to implement the best 'green' technologies to ensure environmentally friendly low-emission development.
Apart from it, we pay serious attention to providing assistance to developing countries to help them meet their own climate goals.
Russia is a donor to the Green Climate Fund. A special new multimillion-dollar Climate Window has been established in Russia–the UNDP Trust Fund for Sustainable Development to fund projects all over the world, including in Africa. Many of the projects funded from the trust fund, even if not directly dealing with climate change, have mitigation and adaptation components.
Russia’s forests (22 per cent of the global forest cover) make a colossal contribution to the sequestration of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere thus substantially mitigating climate change.
Sustainable management of forests and reforestation remain an important part of Russia’s policies to address climate change challenge both nationally and globally.