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Filed under: Development Environment

Windmills and electricity

Is the ‘green economy’ the answer we are looking for? Photo: Still pictures

The developing and transition economies in Europe and Central Asia are part of the only major region that has seen a large absolute decline in carbon emissions in the past two decades. That said, the region includes several countries with extremely high energy intensities, notably, Kazakhstan, Russia and Uzbekistan.

Russia alone ranks in the global top five for both greenhouse gas production and consumption. While these numbers can to some extent be explained by the sheer size of the Russian economy, the country has also relatively high carbon consumption per dollar of GDP.

The weight of Russia’s economy combined with the relatively high levels of carbon emissions per dollar of GDP create tremendous potential for Russia to benefit from carbon finance. The International Energy Agency estimates that, under the Kyoto Protocol, Russia has a surplus of some three billion tons of CO2 equivalent during 2008 and 2012, worth some 30 billion euros.

The reality has been different, however. Six years elapsed between Russia’s 2004 ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and the approval of the country’s first projects. The projects that have thus far been approved would reduce emissions by only 30 tons of CO2 equivalent, which would have a market value of approximately 300 million euros—only one percent of the anticipated total.

These and other issues will be discussed in the upcoming edition of Development and Transition to be published on 8 November. This edition interprets the theme of the 2011 Human Development Report: “Equity and sustainability” with a focus on the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

This latest edition includes: Balázs Horváth’s take on economic policies for sustainable development, Ben Slay’s examination of the possible approaches to carbon accounting, John O’Brien’s analysis of carbon finance for emission reductions, Louisa Vinton’s snap shot of Croatian energy efficiency policy, Emilia Wahlström’s essay on the Astana Green Bridge Initiative and studies of the regional biofuels industry by Assemgul Kaliyeva and Gabor Takacs.