The whole first week of the UN Climate Talks taking place here in Bonn, Germany, have been undermined by blocking tactics from Russia.
The actions of Russia have also highlighted the structural weaknesses of the UN climate negotiations, which often grind to halt due to the actions of just one country (or in this case, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus). This is because a ‘consensus’ is needed to make agreements.
Meetings under the ‘SBI’, which stands for the ‘Subsidiary Body of Implementation’, have been unable to take place all week, leaving negotiators and NGOs extremely frustrated.
On Friday, an EU negotiator pointed out that the whole week has been wasted – and that it was difficult to justify the great expense of coming here to “sit on our hands”, while outside, whole villages are being flooded.
Russian Revenge for Doha?
The stand-off at the UN Climate Talks began in December, when the Chair of the Doha conference hammered through a proposal to get rid of loopholes which benefited Russia.
Previously, this ‘hot air’ had allowed Russia a loop-hole through which they earned millions of dollars worth of ‘carbon credits’ for doing nothing. The ‘hot air’ credits, known as AAU’s, had allowed Russia to do nothing because their emissions had already fallen since 1990 due to the collapse of the USSR.
It was therefore heralded as a success by environmentalists when these loopholes were dealt with at Doha.
However, Russia now opposes the way the agreement was forced through at Doha, without their full consent. At these climate talks, Russia is now trying to include a special agenda item on “procedural and legal issues” to discuss this issue.
Understandably, all the other countries do not want to include Russia’s proposal, because they doubt Russia’s motives and believe this is not the right forum to discuss this.
Many countries, like India, have tried to propose a compromise to overcome the impasse, but Russia is being extremely heavy-handed.
Real Politik – Melting Ice Gaps and Russia Oil Interests
What are Russia’s real motives?