RUSSIAN CLIMATE DOCTRINE OUTLINED

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23 april 2009

'Climate Doctrine' Outlined

By Anatoly Medetsky, The Moscow Times, 23 April 2009

The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry wants to see steeper penalties for environmental violations as part of a "climate doctrine" that it composed, a policy paper predicting that parts of Russia may go underwater after 2025, Minister Yury Trutnev said Wednesday.

The Presidium, a scaled-down version of the Cabinet, is scheduled to consider the doctrine Thursday.

Fines for air pollution may increase up to twentyfold, Trutnev said at a news conference. Fines for some other types of pollution could increase fivefold to fifteenfold, he said.

The document also addresses why the climate is changing and contains forecasts about the effects of global warming and ways to adapt to the changes, Trutnev said. The document is intended to be a reference for other ministries and agencies, he said.

Even if carbon emissions were to stop immediately, air temperature would continue rising through 2050, Trutnev said.

"The economy will develop in different climatic conditions in the future," he said. "That's why climate changes need to be taken into account."

Global warming, caused by higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, may lead to rising sea levels and flooding, including in Russia from 2025 to 2050, Trutnev said, citing the doctrine. The negative effects would also include more droughts and forest fires.

On the upside, Russia would gain farmland, be able to generate more electricity at its hydropower stations and enjoy easier access to the Arctic shelf.

Trutnev also said the government should not reject the idea of auctions for licenses to develop natural resources in favor of the less transparent competitions, even if companies are currently too cash-strapped for vigorous bidding.

The Federal Subsoil Resources Use Agency was able to hold only 10 percent of the planned auctions in the first quarter of this year because potential bidders showed little interest.


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