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Russia’s Post-Kyoto Climate Policy

The Russian climate change policy most visible to the global community is the country’s refusal to participate in the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, a position reiterated by the Russian leadership several
times in recent years. In 2012, the rapid growth in the number and volume of Joint Implementation projects (JI) and the obvious interest of the business community in proceeding with more than 150 JI projects underway in Russia seemed to hint that this decision – which appears economically ill-advised – might be reversed. Such hopes were in vain.

Further, Russia and other economies in transition (EITs) see the decisions taken in Doha as unfavourable. Headroom for future emission growth related to economic development was removed, and the ban on the use of  urpluses carried over from the first commitment period for domestic compliance (to compensate the cuts of headroom) completely changed the position of the EITs in the UNFCCC. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reacted negatively, however, Russia had already withdrawn from the second commitment period, and its position on a post-2020 agreement was not changed.

In order to better understand the possibilities of engaging Russia in the post-2020 climate agreement, in this paper we ask what is driving Russia’s climate policy. Many Russian experts would argue that the country has no climate policy. Our analysis shows that a policy does exist, but its drivers and motivations differ from those of other leading economies. We elaborate three explanatory dynamics, and offer an update on recent climate-policy  developments  in Russia. Finally, we discuss the prospects for engaging Russia in a post-2020 climate agreement in the aftermath of Doha.

Authors: Alexey Kokorin, Anna Korppoo
File: fni_climate_policy_perspectives_10.pdf