Russia Says No to Kyoto


Japan’s been the bad guy in Cancun for the past week and a half, after the country took a firm stance against agreeing to a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol. Japan argues that it wants a new global deal, one that includes big emitters like the US and China, and will not consent to extending its commitment under the 13-year-old treaty, whose first round of commitments is set to expire in 2012. But on Thursday night, Russia formally joined Japan in that stance.

Here’s an excerpt of the prepared remarks from Alexander Bedritsky, Russia’s special envoy for climate, from the Thursday night plenary:

“Russia has repeatedly stated, including at the highest political level, that the adoption of commitments for the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, as it stands now, would be neither scientifically, economically nor politically effective … Russia will not participate in the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

Well, you don’t get much more clear than that. Everyone here knew that Russia and Canada were not very enthusiastic about a second commitment period, but Russia made it’s unwillingness quite apparent tonight.

Bedritsky did note, however, that it would be “judicious to continue to use Kyoto Protocol mechanisms, including in a new agreement.” He also said that Russia supports listing new commitments in a successor global deal and intends to hold itself to the pledge it made in Copenhagen last year to cut emissions 15 to 25 percent below 1990 by 2020.

The fate of Kyoto remains a major rub here in Cancun, as leader head into the final day of negotiations on Friday. Developing countries have insisted that they need a second period for what is currently the only legally binding global agreement on climate, but it looks like extending it is a deal-breaker for at least a few countries as well.

More Mother Jones reporting on Climate Desk

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Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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