Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Russia meet to discuss Kyoto

By Ed King

Representatives of Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Russia will meet next week in Minsk to decide if they will play any further part in the Kyoto Protocol, the Belarussian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced.

The landmark climate treaty was extended at last year’s UN talks in Doha, but the four former Soviet countries were angered after their ‘hot air’ allowances were effectively rendered useless.

Each allowance represents one tonne of carbon dioxide that a country can emit. A provision in the adopted KP amendment outlaws any increase in emissions up to 2020 from 2008-2010 levels.

All four countries protested at the conclusion of the Doha talks, with a Belarus statement arguing the new deal does “not provide any room for our economy growth and is not in line with the known Convention’s principals”.

The economic collapse of former Soviet countries in the 1990s meant their actual emission levels were far lower than those estimated when the Kyoto Protocol was drawn up

It added: “The said decision adopted in Doha also blocks our incentives and intentions to use the flexible market instruments like emissions trading, joint implementation  and national carbon market crucially important for our climate change mitigation measures and policy.

“Having said that, it would not be a surprise if the Government withdraws its letter of consent and does not ratify the Kyoto amendments adopted in Doha.”

The head of WWF Russia Alexey Kokorin told RTCC he expected Belarus and Kazakhstan to play no further part in the Kyoto extension.

“In the case of Belarus and Kazakhstan the change means emissions must be lower than 2008-2010 levels, so only developed countries making physical reductions in emissions can take part in the Kyoto Protocol with commitments,” he said.

“For Belarus and Kazakhstan, which aren’t really developed yet, and which have emerging economies and in Kazakhstan’s case lots of mining potential.

“They will continue to see emission growing and will incur a penalty that forces them to buy AAUs so that they are back down to the 2008-2010 levels.

“That’s not possible. So Belarus and Kazakhstan are excluded from the second period of Kyoto. Ukraine is also in difficult situation but has lots of hot air from the first period so it will probably be able to take part.”

 

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