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Putin reviews environmental agenda

Kremlin says 2017 will be the year of the environment for Russia.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   Jan. 5, 2016 at 8:16 AM
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MOSCOW, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Weeks after a breakthrough U.N. agreement on climate issues, Russian President Vladimir Putin said next year would be the year of the environment in Russia.

"The president resolved to hold the Year of the Environment in the Russian Federation in 2017 in order to attract public attention to Russia's environmental issues, preserving biodiversity and ensuring environmental security," a statement from the Kremlin said.

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An agreement signed by 195 national leaders during the weekend called for all parties to make strides to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a level necessary to curb global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

Under the terms of the agreement, wealthier nations are expected to help finance the shift to a low-carbon economy from poor developing nations. The Kremlin provided few specifics on the road ahead on climate issues other than to say Putin's chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, was appointed as the chair of a committee overseeing the environmental agenda.

"The government of the Russian Federation has been instructed to develop and approve a plan of the main events to be held during the Year of the Environment," it said.

Russia is one of the top oil-producing nations in the world. A breakdown provided by the United Nations found that in 2012, the last full year for which the organization reported data, the Russian energy sector accounted for 48.6 percent of total national greenhouse gas emissions. That was a 5 percent increase from 1990, a year used typically as a benchmark for climate goals.

Russia's economy depends heavily on oil for revenue. With crude oil prices moving lower, Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyakayev in December said the government needs to develop an economic foundation outside the energy sector if it's to endure the weakened oil economy.

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