Putin's adviser wants Russia to bury Kyoto Protocol

Posted on 13 April 2004  | 
Moscow, Russia – WWF said arguments used by President Putin’s economic adviser in recommendations up for discussion by the Russian government exaggerated the economic costs of the Kyoto Protocol for Russia.
According to WWF, Russian economic adviser Andrei Illarionov has been caught lying to President Putin on a range of issues relating to the Kyoto Protocol. The global conservation organization believes that in a report sent to President Putin on 16 March 2004, Illarionov advised President Putin to reject the Kyoto Protocol, based on false information.
"It is clear that Mr Illarionov is lying to try to sway President Putin to reject the Kyoto Protocol," said Alexey Kokorin, head of WWF-Russia’s Climate Change Programme. "This false information campaign must be exposed so that the President can assess the benefits for Russia of ratifying the Protocol, and make a fair evaluation of Russian ratification." 
WWF challenges Illarionov’s allegations in his report to President Putin and outlines the facts below:
LIE #1: Mr Illarionov states that Russia will soon exceed its emissions limits set through the Kyoto Protocol, and will then have to introduce costly measures for emission reductions based on his reasoning that GDP growth must be matched by twice as much growth of greenhouse gas emissions.
TRUTH: Mr Illarionov's analysis is based on cases from developing countries where the level of industrialisation is low and population growth is high. This is incomparable to Russia, where the population is stable.
Mr Illarionov has shied away from comparing Russia to similar countries, like those in Central and Eastern Europe. Contrary to Illarionov's view, studies have shown that Russia cannot exceed the 1990 level before 2012. The most likely scenario is that Russia will double its GDP from 2002 to 2012 and greenhouse gas emissions will be at 10–15% below the level of 1990. But even the maximum scenario of 7.5% GDP growth per year still sees Russia's emissions below 1990 levels in 2008 to 2012 in average

(NOTE: the Russian Ministry of Economy, the Russian Institute of Energy of Russian Academy of Science, the Russian Institute of Global Climate and Ecology (the body responsible for greenhouse gas inventory), the Imperial College of London,and the Oxford Institute of Energy have all published studies in Russian from 2003–2004 which prove this). 
As long as Russian CO2 emissions stay below those of 1990, Russia can sell or save them for use in the future. This will determine the length of time that Russia would be able to earn from selling emission permits to other industrialised countries under the Kyoto Protocol’s emissions trading system
LIE #2: Mr Illarionov states that climate change is not a problem at all, and presents climate change science research as a fringe occupation of a few questionable scientists.
TRUTH: The findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which bring together the peer-reviewed work of over 2,500 scientists world wide, have found that the majority of warming over the last 50 years is due to human influence. A majority of scientists around the world have completed numerous studies documenting the facts of climate change and its impacts.
LIE #3: Mr Illarionov claims it will be very difficult for Russia to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol after its first commitment period ends in 2012. He claims that if a country participates in the first commitment period of the agreement it is in it forever.
TRUTH: Although WWF hopes that all Kyoto Parties in the first commitment period — as well as the United States and Australia — will participate in the next commitment period, participation in the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol does not oblige parties to participate in the second commitment phase. Negotiations have not even begun for this next period.
LIE #4: Mr Illarionov calims that the EU insists on Russia's emissions reduction by 50–60 per cent by 2050.
TRUTH: On 20 February 2004, EU emissary Arthur Runge-Metzger said in Moscow that he could see emissions reduction by 50–60 per cent by 2050 as an EU goal in the future. There is no pressure whatsoever from the EU on Russia's emissions reductions. 
Mr Illarionov is famous for having announced Russian withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol many times without any factual basis. Mr Illarionov made such an announcement during the last Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol in Milan, Italy in December 2003.
As the Russian government finalizes its recommendation on the issue of Russian ratification of the Protocol, Mr Illarionov is actively organizing anti-Kyoto hearings to spread false information. Mr Illarionov is expected to discuss the matter of the Kyoto Protocol in a hearing on 15 April 2004.
The Kyoto Protocol will become international law once the Russian parliament ratifies it. The Russian government's recommendation is expected to be sent shortly to President Putin, who must give his approval before the recommendation can proceed to the Russian Parliament's Lower House, the Duma.
For further information:
Alexey Kokorin
WWF-Russia Climate Change Programme
Mobile: +7 916 567 26 65
E-mail: akokorin@wwf.ru

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