Russia's announcement to reduce its emissions by 10-15 percent by 2020 is disappointing and sets a bad example for other countries who are trying to negotiate a global deal to save the world from dangerous climate change.

On June 19, President Dmitry Medvedev announced a 10-15% reduction of today's emissions by 2020. In real terms, it means that the country's emissions will actually increase by 2.0-2.5 percent from the level in 1990. "Russia's announcement is very disappointing.

Today we can officially say that Russia is the weakest link of climate change negotiations," said Kim Carstensen, the leader of WWF's Global Climate Initiative. Russian greenhouse gas emissions have been decreasing constantly since the early 90s, reaching a minimum in 1998 (60% from 1990 level). From 1999 to 2008, emissions grew by about 1% a year (in 2007, they made up 66% of 1990 level) with economic growth of 6-7% a year. Therefore, 85-90% of 1990 level by 2020 will mean an annual increase in emissions by 2.0-2.5%, which is a significant acceleration in emissions growth. "What Russia has announced means that it does not have to do anything about climate change between now and 2020. That's worse than anyone else," Carstensen said.

Russia has been delaying the announcement of its mid-term emissions target and was the last of the developed countries' bloc to declare how much it wanted to reduce. Scientists say that preventing the world from dangerous levels of overheating and the consequent catastrophic impacts, industrialized countries as a whole need to reduce the emissions by 25-40 percent by 2020 compared with levels in 1990.


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