Russia's Utilization of Perverse Incentives under International Agreements on Climate Change

Zabrovskaya, Valentina, Slavic Languages and Literatures - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Lynch, Allen, AS, University of Virginia
Shugart, Herman, University of Virginia

Russia is a signatory party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its implementation of measures, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement. These agreements on climate change aim to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and limit the effects of global warming. To reach these goals and help countries meet their greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, both agreements encourage the accounting of carbon sinks under the land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF) sector. Carbon sinks can sequester a large portion of greenhouse gas emissions, and the inclusion of them under the agreements is meant to aid nations' efforts in reducing their emissions. However, the incentives of LULUCF can be utilized perversely and allow countries to carry out a climate change mitigation strategy that focuses on the utilization of carbon sinks in replacement of reducing emissions. This thesis will analyze whether Russia took advantage of perverse incentives in the LULUCF sector under the Kyoto Protocol and whether it can do the same under the Paris Agreement. First, I describe LULUCF and its role in the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. Next, I investigate if Russia had the opportunity to utilize incentives under the LULUCF sector perversely during its implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. I analyze if and to what extent Russia perversely utilized the LULUCF sector through empirical analysis of Russia's economy, domestic policies, and forestry from the 1990s to today. Lastly, I compare the policies and regulations of the LULUCF sector under the Kyoto Protocol to those of the Paris Agreement to conclude whether Russia's utilization or lack thereof of perverse incentives under the Kyoto Protocol will replicate under the Paris Agreement. I find that perverse incentives exist under both agreements in the LULUCF sector, which Russia utilizes to justify its minimal effort in reducing carbon emission from carbon sources, primarily fossil fuels.

MA (Master of Arts)
UNFCCC, Russia, LULUCF, Forests, International Agreements on Climate Change, Perverse Incentives
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