10 February 2011, 17:50

America doing its best to combat climate change

America doing its best to combat climate change
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Aleksei Kokorin, h ead of WWF-Russia’s climate and energy programs: In spite of many countries’ common opinion, the US does quite a lot to combat the climate change. Yes, the US is not a member of the Kyoto Protocol, but it allocated huge sums of money to climate science, investigations and practical activities.

Aleksei Kokorin, head of WWF-Russia’s climate and energy programs:

In spite of many countries’ common opinion, the US does quite a lot to combat the climate change. Yes, the US is not a member of the Kyoto Protocol, but it allocated huge sums of money to climate science, investigations and practical activities. Although not that familiar to the world as the Kyoto Protocol, the latter are very significant both in the US and abroad. I can highlight an initiative by at least 20 states in America adopting a different legislation and different norms. So, the US is more than active in this respect. I also see the activities of many American big companies trying not only to calculate emissions carefully but to reduce them as well. Obviously, climate is not the only driving force of this activity. I mean the creation of new jobs because green energy, renewable energy, which provides more jobs than a classic coal or hydro power plant; or the introduction of their own green technologies, like Google and IT technologies; or simply an intention to get a bigger global market share.

However, it is not a problem. A complex of these various driving forces, including climate protection itself, will encourage the American states, companies and people to combat climate change. It is very essential, since the US is the world’s second emitter of greenhouse gases after China. The latter overrun the US two years ago, just before the crisis. Russia is keeping its third position but I expect India to surpass it (and later maybe even the United States).

Anyway, America’s role is very significant and I see many politicians - from former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger to President Barack Obama - are doing their best to combat climate change. Naturally, the understanding of this problem in the US is considerably lower than in China, Europe, India, Australia and South America, as revealed by public opinion polls. Very many American people still think climate change is something weak and non-anthropogenic. This situation has some analogues in Russia where may think that anthropogenic climate change is still very weak. But it is not the case. Therefore, both the US and Russia have a task to raise public awareness on the issue.

Russia has a very good climate doctrine explaining what climate change actually is. The US, in its turn, has many relevant studies, discussion websites and active scientists promoting adequate scientific knowledge. I think as a whole this is a really great contribution of the US to the global process. A considerable number of people think only in terms of their own country, neglecting global challenges. Therefore, our efforts are slower and weaker than necessary. I believe in the near future, sooner or later, their ecological position will improve.

To find out more on the issue, read or listen to our In Focus program from February 10, 2011 in Radio section.

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