Issues of climate change are in modern world politics is about the same value as the problem of nuclear disarmament during the Cold War. Few people then realized the differences between these or other warheads and how many units to be redesigned to something more useful on the farm, but the nuclear winter did not want anyone. And now the technical side of the issue is known in full only to specialists, but about what hazards threaten the world with climate change, they know everything.
In Europe, this issue firmly holds one of the first places on the importance: in many governments, new portfolios on climate and energy. And among the international corporations has become a good habit to devote a separate line, the contribution these companies have in the fight against climate change.
In Russia on climate change say a little, although the recent creation of the post of presidential adviser on climate change suggests that the issue here becomes a priority. Meanwhile, Russia has all the advantages in order to unleash this topic for the benefit not only at the summit in Copenhagen, but in the future. After all, in contrast to a nuclear winter, a threat which can be eliminated by destroying a nuclear weapon until the last warheads around the world, climate change can not be prevented or stopped.
Whatever the outcome of the summit in Denmark, to reverse the process of melting glaciers, warming of the atmosphere, depletion of biological resources of humanity can not. And this is only part of the iceberg, as the climate issues linked to energy security of many nations, economic development, the commercial interests of global corporations.
Without exaggeration we can say that the new big political game in the XXI century is called “global warming”.
This is especially noticeable in the run-up to the Copenhagen Summit, when countries’ positions on the overall problem of climate change on the planet drastically different.
For example, the EU is the most active proponent of reducing CO2 emissions – to 25-40% from 1990 levels by 2020 and almost back to the level of 1990 emissions by 2050. In the United Europe force the market of emission quotas, ie, restriction of greenhouse gas emissions is the real price, like any other product. The EU wishes to extend this system to all economically developed countries by 2020, thereby creating a global trading market. In addition, binds the EU climate policy to energy security: Although the transition to new, renewable, energy sources and fully technically impossible, it would reduce European dependence on imported oil and gas.
People’s Republic has a very different position.
On the one hand, China is rapidly gaining weight in world politics, and its leadership wants a par with Western countries to participate in the formulation of strategies for climate change. On the other – it does not wish to make commitments that could constrain the growth of Chinese economy.
China understands that its economic potential in any case he will play a key role in the world, and therefore in no hurry to support the European Union. Nevertheless, China does not oppose the process is open, even though we could take the position of many developing countries, including India, who accuse the West of imperialism, environmental and declare themselves as victims of global warming. Instead, China sees itself as a “bridge” between the rich North and poor South, playing on the contradictions between these groups. Significantly, China, India and South Africa has recently threatened to boycott the summit if their demands are ignored. This is not nothing but a political maneuver. China and India more profitable to participate in the negotiation process, especially as developing countries unless the U.S. adopted a more proactive stance, may bargaining for a concession.
U.S. in Copenhagen will be President Obama, that for many signaled a change of attitude of the U.S. administration on climate. During his campaign, Obama has declared its intention to ensure that by 2050, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80% from 1990. Of course, for practical implementation of this promise will not need one presidential term, but nevertheless
Barack Obama’s personal position is radically different from the position of his predecessor. If, during the presidency (to the summit he clearly does not have time), Obama can reverse the resistance of the Congress and to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, it will lead to large changes in the policies of other states.
EU received the coveted ally, and China can no longer rely on U.S. unwillingness to restrain international obligations. Obama’s position finds support among many Americans who are keen environmentally friendly way of life. The financial crisis has made the problem of saving energy particularly relevant – in the U.S. are increasingly talking about reducing dependence on oil from the Middle East and Venezuela.
What is the place of Russia in this process? Although climate issues do not occupy first place in the foreign and domestic policy, has several advantages that are worth using. Economic shocks 1990 provided the country with a large reserve of quotas on greenhouse gas emissions, despite the fact that is one of three countries with the highest number of emissions, along with China and the United States. Thus, economy may grow at the same time fulfill the commitments on emissions. Moreover, the lower the threshold of emissions, the greater the possibility of market quotas. In 2008, Russia and Japan began a partnership program in which Japan has expressed willingness to invest on a large scale in energy-saving technologies in exchange for part of the quota. The EU needs not only in gas, but also in parts of emission quotas, and in this area may be mutually advantageous cooperation.
In the expert community can hear the idea of lobbying and non-climate interests (such as visa-free regime) by manipulating the quotas.
In diplomacy is the practice of binding of different issues into one complex site, but it is rarely successful. It would be logical to keep trading for solving related problems. For example, the modernization of the economy can not be carried out without switching to energy-saving technologies and production.
The position is not yet clearly distinguished target. Perhaps the advantages that it possesses, it’s hard to convert into real benefits. But do not use them it would be unwise. Summit in Copenhagen will show at what stage is a big political game about global warming, but participate in it will have. For Russia, it is important to keep the trump cards, and skillfully to let them in business.