Director of the climate program of WWF-Russia
What has the Civil G8 given us?
Personal impressions of the Coordinator of the Round Table on the Energy security problems, director of the climate program of WWF-Russia.
First of all, Russia participated in the process as an equal member of the G8. Nor the summit, neither the behavior of the Russian representatives distinguished of the more experienced members of G8. Russia hasn’t complained about purely Russian problems or tried to discuss them. The Russian side has shown its capability to gain consensus and avoid complicated matters where the consensus is not reachable. Of course, journalists were reminding about the fact that Russian is at the 9-10th place on its national revenue and the readers thought that we are behind all the G8 states. Nevertheless, by its national revenue Russia outstrips Canada, Brazil and during a few years we will outstrip Italy.
Secondly, the Civil G8 made a lot for the Russian NGOs. As a climate and energy expert, I can say that we have reached a considerable progress. The climate issue is important but very unusual, so it was already a success to unit the representatives of different Russian, international and foreign organizations to discuss the climate anthropogenic changes and its influence to the energy security. The knowledge of many NGOs has considerably increased during our work and discussions. Of course, the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol has a political nature but the problem itself is outside the policy and concerns climatology, environment protection, economy, energy etc. The higher is the professionalism and NGOs knowledge about the issue, the better they act within the framework of real problems – greenhouse effect, educational activities within the framework of the climate issues., assistance to the ecosystems to survive in the changing climate conditions etc. It also contributes to better understanding between NGOs and the officials and administrations.
Thirdly, the Civil G8 surprised everyone by the meetings with the Sherpas and the Russian President. Of course, it was a demonstration of the democratic relations between the society and the authorities. But I think other NGOs from G8 states hadn’t met such attentive attitude. I hope our colleagues from Germany and Japan as well as other G8 states will keep such high level. Even taking into account the skepticism about the real significance of NGOs one must admit that these personal contacts are very useful.
Fourthly, the “climate” part of the document –the St Petersburg plan on energy security – has significantly improved in process of its preparation and contains now practical issues recommended by the NGOs. We had no possibility to see how the text was modifying and whose concrete recommendations and positions lead to such positive changes, but the most important thing is that we have the result. The NGOs insisted that the climate part should be more strictly formulated and should contain the recommendations on the support of the mechanism of joint implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. We also need the direct connection between the implementation of the Gleneagles Plan and economic mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol. Now the final document contains these recommendations.
Thus, the G8 leaders have shown their intention to develop the mechanisms and principles of the Kyoto Protocol. Of course the USA will participate in the Protocol till 2013. But all the G8 states, including USA, agreed that the Kyoto Protocol and other similar initiatives will form finally the basis of future joint actions aimed at reducing greenhouse effect after 2012 (i.e. after the first term of the Protocol action is finished). Personally, as a specialist on international negotiations on climate issues for 15 years, I appreciate it as a very important and positive result.