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Press Conference with Presidential Economic Adviser Andrei Illarionov
#1
The Lavosier Group

Alexander House, Friday, 3 October 2003

EXCERPT:

Moderator: Good day, ladies and gentlemen. Today we---by we I mean the Kremlin.org network---are holding a press conference with Andrei Nikolayevich Illarionov, an economic adviser to the President. The topic of our press conference is "Russia and the Kyoto Protocol: What Is to Be Done?"

This question interests us very much because, and I am afraid I will express almost everybody's view, everything we read about this, that has been said or written by supporters and opponents, and especially by supporters, because with opponents everything is simply they only have to maintain the status quo, so all this offers very vague arguments.

Usually we are offered different explanations of why we should sign the Kyoto Protocol. And all these explanations are so enticing, one can't help asking why there are so many of them. Just yesterday a very respected person who works in a very respected energy company tried to explain to me why it was so important for Russia to join the Kyoto Protocol, that it was an international club of very important countries. Is it a club, is it a way to save mankind, or is it a way for Russia to earn? What it is? I hope we will find this out today.

Illarionov: Thank you, Gleb Olegovich for your introduction. Before we start talking about the content of our meeting, I would like to make a few introductory remarks. First of all, as it turned out, the topic of the Kyoto Protocol, the topic of ratification by Russia of the Kyoto Protocol or the topic of non-ratification of the Kyoto Protocol or the topic of postponement by Russia of the Kyoto Protocol ratification has become so politicized lately that frankly speaking I can't think of any other topic recently that would have stirred such intensive and emotional debates.

Just two days ago I was at one of the press conferences devoted to the ratification of the protocol and I witnessed so much emotion on the part of the people who attended that I hadn't seen since the end of the 1980s or at least since October 1993. It's not quite usual for such a calm life, political and economic and intellectual, we have had over the last few years. Relatively calm, of course, at least compared to the emotions that I could see several days ago.

So my first wish in our meeting today is that this meeting should not have a nature of political statements. We do not pursue any goals here. The only task we are facing is to have a calm and balanced discussion of problems that are confronting the country, the choice that has been offered to the country, the choice that has been the subject of very intensive intellectual and political fighting. Despite all this, I will try to have as calm and balanced a discussion as possible in order to try to figure out what is happening.

Just a few very general words about the Kyoto Protocol, although I am sure the people in this room know this. The Kyoto Protocol was prepared and signed in December 1997 in the city of Kyoto. This is why it is called the Kyoto Protocol. I have here this small book called "The Kyoto Protocol: the Convention on Climate Change." The Convention on Climate Change was adopted by the United Nations.

But it is not the convention that is a legally binding document but the Kyoto Protocol. The essence of the protocol is that---of course, it's a legal document that is based on a certain theory, on a certain concept.

LINK TO A LOT MORE
It is our attitude toward free thought and free expression that will determine our fate. There must be no limit on the range of temperate discussion, no limits on thought. No subject must be taboo. No censor must preside at our assemblies.

–William O. Douglas, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1952
#2
Here are the 10 questions Bert Bolin never answered.

Questions posed to Bert Bolin by Andrei Illarionov

Moscow World Climate Change Conference

October 1, 2003

1. What was the actual level of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere in 1980-2000?

* The forecast is alarming. What is the basis for it?

2. What are the parameters of the model of temperature anomalies? And how are they derived? Why are there such fluctuations in anthropogenic forcing observations?

3. Can we explain the temperature variation by CO2 concentration in the atmosphere in the past 1000 years?

4. Can we explain the temperature variation by CO2 concentration in the atmosphere in the past 140 years?

5. Can we explain the temperature variation by CO2 emissions of anthropogenic character?

6. Other factors explaining temperature variation: Volcanic activity? Whether to include in the model?

7. Other factors explaining temperature variation: Long-term cycles? Whether to include in the model?

8. Is the modern "global warming" unique in the last 5,000 years?

9. Can we achieve the Kyoto Protocol targets, providing the share of Annex 1 countries (including Russia, not including USA and Australia) in the world's CO2 emissions is rapidly falling?

10. And finally: How much does it cost?

LINK

It is our attitude toward free thought and free expression that will determine our fate. There must be no limit on the range of temperate discussion, no limits on thought. No subject must be taboo. No censor must preside at our assemblies.

–William O. Douglas, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1952




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