In a bizarre announcement that threatens to further weaken the international community’s ability to come together on climate change, Russia has said it will reduce its emissions 10-15 percent from 1990 levels by 2020. The problem is that in 1990 Russia’s carbon emissions were much higher than they are today, so this ‘lowering’ of carbon emissions actually means that Russia will raise its emissions by 2 to 2.5 percent annually until 2020.
The announcement promoted Kim Carstensen of World Wildlife Fund’s Global Climate Initiative to name Russia “the weakest link of climate change negotiations”.
Beginning in the early 1990s, Russia’s carbon emissions began decreasing until 1999 when they started rising again by about 1 percent per year. In 2007 the nation’s emissions were 66 percent of its 1990 levels.
“What Russia has announced means that it does not have to do anything about climate change between now and 2020. That’s worse than anyone else,” Carstensen said.
Despite decades of fluctuating emissions, in 2004 Russia still had the third highest carbon emissions in the world, making up 5.6 percent of the global total. Per capita, Russia was ranked 30 out of 206 nations for carbon emissions from 1990-2004.
The announcement was made by President Medvedev.
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