Co-operation is underway but limited. Neither member states nor Russia see it as a priority.
Co-operation on climate change was identified as a priority area in the EU–Russia “Partnership for Modernisation”. The EU hoped climate change was an apolitical area in which the chance of co-operation would be higher. There is some co-operation between the EU and Russia. But when Russian commercial interests are threatened, it disappears. Russia has not yet really overcome its climate-change scepticism. In particular, it continues to exploit its vast forests to claim a special status in the global climate change regime. In September, Russia joined forces with China to denounce the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), claiming it violated national sovereignty and was a breach of the Chicago Convention. Russian airlines are likely to refuse to pay EU gas-emission fees. Russia shows no sign of moderating its drive to target energy resources in the Arctic. The EU is still pushingfor a cap and trade system for greenhouse gas emissions and a tax on CO2 emissions and energy content.
The EU institutions continued to engage Russia on climate change and Climate Change Commissioner Connie Hedegaard visited Moscow in November. But most member states were content to leave the issue to her and only a few – Denmark, Finland, France, Latvia, Poland, Sweden and the UK – took up the issue of climate change in their bilateral relations with Russia, for example in their Partnerships for Modernisation in the form of joint energy efficiency centres or initiatives. Ongoing negotiations between Moscow and Brussels focus on drawing up a roadmap on energy co-operation until 2050 and energy efficient statistics. A project on energy efficiency in north-west Russia was launched under the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership. Low-carbon initiatives are at the moment confined to an exchange of experts. A major conference to encourage private sector waste reduction as a business opportunity is planned. Exchanges of forest-fire experts are planned after the Russian fires in 2010. Discussions continue on a voluntary scheme for timber certification.