22 October 2018
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Russia’s contribution to global efforts to contain climate change (full text of article by Ambassador Yakovenko for RBTH)

The world’s climate and weather patterns are changing. Global temperatures are rising, causing more extreme weather events, like flooding and heat waves. A potential threat of these global processes for the population and the economy of our countries remains a tangible one. Climate change is one of the gravest challenges humanity faces today.

 Over two weeks the world’s attention is focused on the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. We are experiencing a pivot where we should shift from words to constructive solutions genuinely recognizing that there is a trend to worsening effects of global climate change. The Paris event, started by a formidable gathering of national leaders, gives us a unique opportunity to address this challenge by achieving a new climate agreement based on the principles of the UN Framework Convention.

 Russia is taking active measures to address global warming. The wide range of steps in the format of national programmes, laws and regulations, administrative procedures aimed at increasing Russia’s contribution to solve the climate problem includes the Climate doctrine of the Russian Federation and a comprehensive action plan for its implementation, the Presidential Decree on measures to improve energy and ecological efficiency of the Russian economy, the Federal Law on Energy Conservation, the 2030 Energy Strategy of Russia, the Presidential Decree “On the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions” and the Order of the Government of the Russian Federation for its implementation.

 We have more than fulfilled our obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. Through the implementation of our Energy Efficiency and Energy Sector Development programme we managed to improve our economy’s energy efficiency by a third over 2000-2012, and we expect to reach a further 13,5 percent improvement by 2020. The decrease of Russian emissions since 1991 has saved 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. By way of comparison, the total emissions of all countries in 2012 reached 46 billion tons. These improvements are achieved through the use of breakthrough energy-saving solutions, such as nanotechnologies, as well as modern regulatory measures.

 Russia supports the world’s community’s long-term goal: to keep global warming within an increase of two degrees Celsius by the end of this century. In Paris, we are advocating a new, comprehensive and legally binding agreement for the post-2020 period. Such an instrument should unite efforts of all countries and in particular those with the highest emission levels. The agreement may become a solid foundation of a long-term climate regime, balanced in all its aspects.

 It is paramount that the new agreement should reflect the important role of forests as the main absorber of greenhouse gases. Forests should be duly accounted for when setting targets. This is particularly important for Russia, which has immense forest resources and does a lot to preserve them.

 Of course, not all countries are fully prepared to take efficient emission-cutting measures. That’s why it is important to support developing countries’ efforts to reduce harmful emissions. Russia will provide financial and other assistance to these countries, using the relevant mechanisms of the United Nations.

 Developed and developing countries should be treated on a fair basis. We cannot ignore changes in environmental, economic, political and technological development of the world, including accession of a number of Parties to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)/(Kyoto Protocol) to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), the increased level of their GDP, etc. At the same time Russia does not reject the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities”. We believe that the content of climate commitments and actions by developed and developing countries may be different, but they should be reflected in a single international legal accord. Without this, it will be just useless.

 Finally, efficient tackling climate change is impossible without proper research. For this reason we have put forward an initiative of holding a UN-sponsored scientific congress on natural resources exhaustion and deterioration of human habitat, that will allow to put global warming into a broader environmental and social context.

 These measures are not somehow “a platter of climate-friendly platitudes” as sceptics may put it. Russia has already proved by facts that it has met the Kyoto Protocol goals. The stakes are high. As the planet’s temperature is rising it is obvious that uncontrolled climate could cause irreversible impacts on both the human and the environment. Dealing with the disastrous consequences will be much harder and dearer. We hope that common sense will prevail and a new post-Kyoto agreement will be reached by consensus.

Russia aims to continue to actively participate in the negotiations and to engage with all stakeholders in the spirit of transparency, strict observance of the rules of procedure, respect for the interest of all states, collective responsibility and compromise in order to strike a genuine consensus and strengthen efforts for finalization of a new legally binding climate regime. We believe a new agreement is achievable.


09.08.2018 - Letter from Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko to the Guardian’s editor

In response to the Ambassador Beruchashvili’s letter, offering not so much a recollection of the August 2008 events in the Caucasus, but rather a misleading reiteration of the Georgian claims against Russia I have to refer to some of the universally recognized facts and consequences resulting from those tragic events.

24.07.2018 - Eastern Economic Forum: the East is bright (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko)

When talking about Russia’s Far East, you invariably remember its stunning natural beauty, abundance in natural resources and vast territories. But when one thinks of its investments prospects, you also invariably remember its harsh climate, low average population density and the lack of transport and other infrastructure. But now the situation is changing fundamentally. The region is undergoing a huge and qualitative revival. The development of the region has been declared one of the national priorities for Russia. In the last 5 years 18 advanced development zones and 5 free ports have been established in the Russian Far East. Long-term tax exemptions have been provided for large investment projects. Paperless e-visas for visitors of Vladivostok are available for citizens of 18 countries.

03.05.2018 - SALISBURY: A CLASSIFIED CASE (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko)

On 4 March 2018 two Russian citizens Sergei and Yulia Skripal were reportedly poisoned in Salisbury, Wiltshire with the toxic chemical named A-234 under the British classification. On 12 March Foreign Secretary Johnson summoned me to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and said that Russia was “highly likely” responsible for the attack. He invited us to respond by the next day, whether this had been a direct act by the state or Russia had lost control over this nerve agent. The incident had international repercussions, including expulsion of 150 Russian diplomats from 28 countries, notwithstanding the fact that the charges were based on assumptions and unverifiable intelligence. The Western countries lost the same number of Moscow-based staff. Meanwhile, the British government provided no evidence either to the public, its allies or Russia. Subsequent events revealed that no proof of Russia’s involvement existed. On 1 May, National Security adviser Sir Mark Sedwill confirmed that (despite a number of previous leaks) no suspect had been identified, a statement that speaks for itself.

14.02.2018 - The international community needs a unified legal base to combat information crimes (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Amid the rapid advance in technologies we face a growing number of cyber-crimes: in 2016, these offences caused damage of $445 billion and by 2020, according to experts, this figure can reach up to $3 trillion, exceeding the overall income received from the Internet.

26.01.2018 - UNGA: Glorification of Nazism must stop (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

In December the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the traditional resolution on “Combating the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”. It was supported by an overwhelming majority of UN Member States: 133 states voted for this document, 57 became its co-sponsors, and only Ukraine and the United States voted against.

29.11.2017 - Afghan opium production jumps to record level (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for RT)

According to the latest Afghanistan Opium Survey released by the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in 2017 opium production in Afghanistan increased by 87 per cent to a record level of 9,000 metric tons. The area under opium poppy cultivation also grew by 63 per cent to its highest level of 328,000 hectares. Afghanistan is the world's top cultivator of the poppy from which opium and heroin are produced. The 2017 record levels of opium production and poppy cultivation create multiple challenges for the country, its neighbours and many other countries that serve as a transit for or a destination of Afghan opiates. The significant levels of opium poppy cultivation and illicit trafficking of opiates fuel instability, insurgency and increase funding to terrorist groups in Afghanistan.

19.10.2017 - Why to fight with memorials (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The campaign in Poland against World War II memorials to Soviet officers and soldiers, who had liberated the country from the Nazi occupation, is gaining momentum. Warsaw has created a legal framework allowing the disposal of Soviet/Russian memorial objects or taking them out of public sight, including the most widespread monuments of gratitude to the Red Army. Why?

18.10.2017 - Syria: collective humanitarian efforts, not sanctions, are needed more than ever (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The situation in Syria is undergoing serious transformation. Due to the de-escalation process, it has now become possible to drastically reduce the level of violence, to improve the humanitarian situation as well as to fight terrorists more efficiently. The ISIS-controlled territory is shrinking. On 14-15 September, at the international meeting in Astana all four de-escalation zones were finalized.

05.10.2017 - What You Have to Know about Status of Crimea (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The coup d’état in Kiev in February 2014 backed by the West tore up the constitutional space in Ukraine. The legitimate President of the country was overthrown. It was marked by a severe lack of democracy and violence that posed a direct threat to the well-being of Russian-speaking population of Crimea. Citizens of Crimea faced the choice of becoming an oppressed minority or severing their ties with the hostile regime to secure a future for themselves and their children. The decision to hold a referendum was made by legitimate local authorities. The independence of Crimea was proclaimed and an appeal to enter the Russian Federation was made based on the indisputable results of the popular vote. Standards of international law were fully observed as the right of nations to self-determination enshrined in the UN Charter was exercised freely by the Crimeans. Crimea was recognized as an independent and sovereign state by Russia and on 18 March 2014 in Moscow the two countries signed a Treaty of Unification, under which the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol became two new regions - subjects of the Russian Federation.

05.10.2017 - NATO increased military presence in Europe: road to nowhere (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

As part of the implementation of the conclusions of the NATO Summit in Warsaw, four multinational battlegroups have been deployed in Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia with the total number of troops exceeding 4500. The idea of creating similar rotating units in Bulgaria and Romania in 2018 is being widely discussed by NATO members. If put together, these battlegroups amount to a motorized infantry brigade with heavy weapons.

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