Russia now ‘very unlikely’ to join Kyoto extension in Doha

By Olga Dobrovidova

Russian officials continue to dismiss any possibility of joining the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, and RTCC understands that hopes of Russia changing its mind are now virtually over.

Deputy Prime Minister Dvorkovich after his meeting with stakeholders on November 27 told RIA Novosti that the government’s position has not changed so far – a comment which many experts were at first quick to label as ‘downplaying’ necessary for the delicate lobbying to continue behind closed doors.

That comment, however, went on to bring Russia its second ‘fossil of the day’ award, for climate laggards, in the first week of talks.

Meanwhile, officials still insist that a U-turn is out of the question. Oleg Shamanov, a senior Russian negotiator in Doha, told Reuters Point Carbon on Wednesday that Russia will not take on a second legal target to cut emissions under the Kyoto Protocol.

Several senior government officials who took part in the Dvorkovich meeting on Tuesday also claimed that a ‘U-turn over the Atlantic’ will not happen, referencing a famous 1999 incident when then-prime minister Yevgeny Primakov cancelled his visit to the US mid-air above the Atlantic ocean after getting a phone call from Al Gore about NATO airstrikes against Yugoslavia.

The course of events during the last few days prompted a top business daily, Kommersant, which rushed to claim a Kyoto comeback in September, to publish a rather pessimistic article.

Entitled “Fossil of Yesterday”, it states that some positive signals from Dvorkovich about Joint Implementation projects did not in fact make it into the official record of the meeting.

That, in Kommersant’s view, means last traces of hope for a KP second commitment period in Russia have now vanished.

Considering a generally negative fallout from the meeting, most experts still allow for the possibility of an unlikely ‘divine invasion’ on the matter – that is, President Putin intervening in the discussion.

Ironically, the battle over Kyoto continues in Moscow amid unprecedented snowfall, heaviest in 50 years – it has been snowing for nearly two days, and meteorologists expect the weather to improve only by Sunday.

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