Russia cools talk of separate loss and damage climate mechanism

Kremlin statement also indicates support for USA’s ‘bottom up’ approach to emission reduction pledges



By Olga Dobrovidova in Warsaw

Russia does not appear to back a separate loss and damage mechanism, according to a statement by Russia’s climate envoy and presidential advisor Alexander Bedritsky.

The document was published on the Kremlin website late Monday, outlining the Russian position on major COP19 issues.

It underlines Russia’s belief that a new UN climate agreement should be based on the principles of the Framework Convention on Climate Change.

These include Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR) – but specifically highlighting the second part of that common negotiating formula.

The country has earlier introduced a much-debated amendment to the climate convention calling for a review of the division between developed and developing countries – and calls on everyone to support that amendment.

The statement from Bedritsky goes slightly beyond what Russia’s Oleg Shamanov told reporters on the first day of the talks: instead of just calling for a roadmap to the new agreement, it outlines the specific things Russia wants to see agreed, first of them being its length and the basket of greenhouse gases covered. This, in Bedritsky’s words, will inform the process of countries coming up with post-2020 pledges.

“Russia prefers a bottom-up approach in determining the commitments to reduce, stabilize or curb emissions, as the top-down approach in the multilateral climate process has not fulfilled the expectations placed on it. We consider a protocol under the Convention covering 2021-2030 the most preferable form of the new agreement”, says a translation of the statement.

Another necessary precondition for determining future commitments on the Russian side is “agreement on parameters and mechanisms for accounting for land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF)”. And as for bunker fuels, Russia feels those should be addressed by ICAO and IMO.

But perhaps the most important part of the statement concerns loss and damage, a crucial issue in the talks that Russia has so far touched extremely carefully. After highlighting economic losses from extreme weather events incurred by many countries, Russia underscores adaptation as a “key element of climate policy”.

“We believe that the issues of loss and damage from climate change should be discussed in the framework of existing adaptation mechanisms, technological and financial assistance and capacity building”, the statement says.

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