Vladimir Putin going to Paris to attend forum on climate, to meet with counterparts

MOSCOW, November 30. Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to attend on Monday a UN conference on climate that is held in Paris.

Decisions taken at the forum are destined to have fundamental importance for the ecological situation on the planet but the most recent military and political developments create the risk of pushing environmental problems to the background and to bring intense contacts among participants into limelight instead.

The list of leaders of almost 150 countries expected in Paris includes U.S. President Barack Obama, German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan, among others.

Consensus on post-Kyoto document absent

The goal of the conference is to adopt a new multilateral agreement on climate that will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change after 2020.

“The Kyoto Protocol embraces only 13% to 14% of the total volume of greenhouse gas emissions and it has stopped playing the role of an efficacious instrument for the solution of climate problems,” a Kremlin adviser said in this connection. “But the world doesn’t have any consensus on a post-Kyoto document.”

“Russia views the Paris conference as an important international event, the outcome of which will predetermine in many ways the prospects for sustained development of different countries,” Putin’s aide Yuri Ushakov said.

He gave the assurances that the Russian side was pressing for adoption of a comprehensive and legally binding agreement at the conference. This agreement was to spell out the efforts of all the countries and primarily the biggest issuers of greenhouse gasses (China, the U.S., the EU, and Russia) and to lay down a solid groundwork for long-term climate regulations. These regulations were be balanced in all the aspects – ecological, economic and political.

Russia and the ten years the new treaty will stay in effect

Russian President’s special envoy for climate problems, Alexander Bedritsky, believes the main guiding element in the process of elaboration of the new agreement should be the “upkeep of the encouraging reserves and experience gained under the auspices of the Kyoto Protocol, as well as elimination of weak points of the current climate regulations.”

Also, the signatories are to specify the deadlines for an effective functioning of the agreement and the approaches to the current climate regulation mechanisms.

In addition, the signatory nations are to determine the validity period of the new agreement and the criteria for reviewing the contributions made by the signatory countries.

“We think this period should durable enough for unfolding the programmes of economic modernization and technology overhauls, and this will require about ten years of a period through to 2030,” Bedritsky said in a statement.

“The new agreement should take effect as soon as possible and assure broad participation of the signatory countries,” he believes. “From the legal angle of view, main attention should be given to the countries’ obligations and places in the structure of the agreement.”

“Climate change is a global problem and that’s why it is important to seek consensus without superimposing the interests of one group of countries in clear detriment to the interests of other groups, on the one hand, and to avoid encroachments on international legal norms and regulations, on the other hand,” Bedritsky said. “That’s a key condition for success.”

He stressed Russia’s interest in the fruitfulness of the Paris conference, adding that Moscow was eyeing active participation in the future talks in collaboration with all the countries concerned and in the spirit of transparency and collective responsibility.

Challenge of a planetary scale calling for new approaches

Putin raised the ecological theme in September as he addressed the UN General Assembly. He called on to search for new groundbreaking solutions then, saying humankind had enough resources to cope with this global challenge.

“By setting quotas for hazardous discharges and using other tactical steps we can alleviate the burden of the problem for some time but we won’t solve it radically,” he said. “We need quality new approaches. The case in hand is the assimilation of dramatically new technologies, which don’t damage the environment around us and, on the contrary, co-exist in the harmony with us.”

Putin urged the nations boasting powerful research platforms and experience in fundamental sciences to pool efforts.

“We recommend convening a special forum under the UN auspices where we could look in detail the problems arising from the depletion of mineral resources, devastation of natural habitats and climate changes,” he said adding that Russia was prepared to take on the role of an organizer of the forum of this kind.

Russia ready to offer financial aid

Alexander Bedritsky indicated that Russia could finance the transfer of technologies to developing countries so that they could reduce their own atmospheric emissions.

“We support the international efforts to summon financial aid for a transfer of technologies to the developing countries for the reduction of atmospheric emissions and adaptation,” his statement said. “Russia doesn’t rule out a possibility of voluntary contribution to financial mechanisms that will be created under the auspices of the convention.”

Bedritsky said in a recent interview with TASS that efforts were made to fill will finance and launch the UN Green Climate Fund, which was expected to accumulate $ 100 billion by 2020 and had more than $ 10 billion at the moment.

A number of projects in the developing countries had been launched to reduce the pressures on climate and to assist adaptation to climate changes.

“These efforts should be built up in the future,” Bedritsky said. “Although the Russian side doesn’t have any commitments as regards financing, nonetheless it’s ready to provide finances voluntarily.”

“I think President Vladimir Putin will voice some ideas to this end, too, when he takes the floor at the conference,” he said.

Bedritsky did not specify any amounts of financing but said it would not be very big at the beginning.

Putin to speak after Obama, separate meeting not ruled out

The conference will be opened by French President Francois Hollande and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, and the heads of state will speak after the official photography ceremony.

“Putin is number nine on the list of speakers,” Yuri Ushakov said. Leaders of Paraguay, Morocco, Djibouti, China, Egypt, and the U.S. are supposed to speak before him.

“Then Francois Hollande will give a lunch for participants and a working session of the conference will continue in the second half of the day,” Ushakov said. “The Russian delegation will devote the second half of the day mostly to bilateral contacts.”

General gatherings of summit participants, the official photography ceremonies and lunches in honor of the guests always give an opportunity to country leaders to speak to one another “on the go”. This was the situation about two weeks ago when Putin and Obama met each other in the hall of a Turkish hotel where the summit of the G20 was held.

Their conversation happened to last twenty minutes then.

Ushakov did not rule out the possibility of a conversation of the same type between the two leaders in Paris, too.

“There are no preparations for a separate meeting because there were no requests for it from the American side but it can’t be ruled out,” he said. -0-kle

The Turkish issue

Requests for a meeting have come from a different country. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made two attempts to call Putin and then sent an official request for a meeting with him on November 30 on the sidelines of the Paris conference.

When asked about the Kremlin’s answer to these queries, Yuri Ushakov said: “Our reaction boils down to answering that we’ve informed the Russian leadership on the Turkish requests for a telephone conversation and a possible meeting in the format of the climate summit in Paris.”

He gave a simple explanation for Putin’s reluctance to speak to Erdogan. “We can see a lack of readiness on the part of Turkey to offer elementary apologies in connections with the incident (in which a Turkish fighter jet brought down a Russian bomber in Syrian airspace – TASS).”

Virtually on the eve of a hypothetical meeting in Paris, Putin signed a decree on special restrictive economic measures against Turkey.

An F-16 fighter jet of the Turkish Air Force brought the Su-24M bomber down in the morning of Tuesday, November 24. Turkish defence officials claimed the Russian crew had intruded into Turkish airspace in the area of the Syrian-Turkish land-surface border.

The Russian Defense Ministry says the Su-24M was flying over the Syrian territory and there was now intrusion in Turkish airspace.

The crew – Lt Col Oleg Peshkov and Capt Konstantin Murakhtin managed to eject themselves from the aircraft but Lt Col Peshkov was killed in midair by gunfire opened by militants from among the ethnic Turkomans.

Capt Murakhtin was rescued and taken to the Russian airbase at Humeymim, Latakia province.

The search and rescue operation involved two Mi-8 helicopters. One of them was damaged by gunfire and made a forced landing. A contract marine serviceman died in the incident while the rest of the search party was evacuated to a safe place.

The damaged helicopter was destroyed later by mortar fire from a land area controlled by militants.- TASS, Russian News Agency.