#13 - JRL 2009-232 - JRL Home
Moscow Times
December 21, 2009
Medvedev Touts Russia, Quickly Exits Climate Talks
By Alexandra Odynova

President Dmitry Medvedev touted Russia as a world leader in cutting emissions at a UN climate change conference and then took the lead in ducking out of the meeting as U.S. President Barack Obama worked overtime to clinch an agreement.

Medvedev, who left the talks in Copenhagen on Friday evening to attend an informal CIS forum in Kazakhstan, offered mild praise on Saturday to those who had stayed behind to draft the nonbinding Copenhagen Accord, which sets a billion-dollar program of climate aid to poor nations but does not bind Russia or other leading polluters to make deeper cuts in their gas emissions, which are blamed for global warning.

“There are results, but they are rather modest. Unfortunately, the work was very difficult, but we managed to put a document together,” Medvedev said in Almaty, according to a transcript published on the Kremlin’s web site.

The agreement was drawn up Friday night and formally accepted Saturday morning, but it remained unclear how many of the 193 countries that participated in the United Nations-organized conference would sign it.

Obama, who met Medvedev on the sidelines of the conference to discuss nuclear cuts, added six hours to his planned nine-hour visit to push through an agreement. Medvedev, however, was one of the first world leaders to leave the conference, where he delivered a speech extolling Russia’s readiness to stop global warming.

“At the moment, Russia is a world leader in cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Our emissions have been cut up to 30 percent … since 1990,” Medvedev said.

Russia is the world’s third-largest polluter, after the United States and China.

Medvedev said Russia would cut emissions by 25 percent, or 30 billion tons, from 1990 levels through 2020, regardless of any agreement reached at the UN conference. “This is beneficial for us,” he said.

He also expressed hope that a global agreement would be reached in the future.

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