Given the economic, social and environmental benefits that can be obtained by Russia even in the short term with the introduction of an effective climate policy, it is necessary to seek opportunities to strengthen activities in this direction. In order to quantify costs and benefits it should be well-analyzed with using the multifactorial economic modelling and variety of scenarios. But even at a preliminary stage, observed decrease in agricultural productivity shows urgent needs in the climate change mitigation actions. Despite all sorts of political and economic benefits derived from the Russia’s particular position in climate negotiations, it is necessary to add to it real visible results of low-carbon economy development. Joint implementation of programs such as carbon intensity reduction and sustainable forest management will ensure the favorable position for Russia both for today and for tomorrow. In most cases, investments made in climate programs bring enormous economic, social, environmental and political dividends.
Despite the difficulties of the low-carbon economy transition (resistance of some industrial lobbying groups, the prevalence of raw material incomes in the state budget, the inertia of solutions adoption and implementation, technological backwardness) the transition to green economy should be considered as profitable and essential.
Abatements’ opportunities are vast and for materialization of some of them there are no needs in sizable financial investments. But even in this situation finance required exceeds public possibilities. In order to ensure the smooth operation of the regulation system it is necessary to determine the social carbon cost and provide the opportunity to use climate finance. As an additional resource the funds that are generated by negative environmental impact payments can be used. They should be turned from no-purpose funds into funds-in–trust and included in the financial resources’ list for the GHG emissions regulation system implementation. Existing state inventory system could be a source of a database. What is more, it provides the relevant experience for further amelioration in terms of harmonization with international standards.
Taking into account the different geographical and economic conditions of the regions and the complexity of one-time implementation of the regulation system throughout the country, most logical steps would involve pre-testing mechanisms in the first few pilot regions, especially as some regions have expressed their readiness to participate voluntarily. Next, based on pilot regions’ experience the well-tested structure can be replicated throughout the country. A further logical step would be that the Russian system’s inclusion in the international emissions regulation and trading.
There was important development in Russian climate politics during last 2-3 years. Even if the real result is still unpretentious, serious structural changed took place. Despite the fact that it is not obvious at the moment, there is the potential positive role of Russia in future cooperation in global climate action. The prevailing national opinion is not any longer categorical skeptical with respect to international climate policy and efforts. Climate change is gradually being taken more seriously. Local business community, in general, attempted a climate task, and it is undertaking voluntary commitments. GHG target for 2020 is determined by economical interest and even if CO2 reduction is not taken as primary goal, it doesn’t diminish result that will be attained. At the same time in December, 2015 During COP21 in Paris the ambitious plans from Russia’s side should be expected. Taking into account all mentioned above, non-standard current political situation with sanctions against Russia and the situation in the oil market, investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, economy transition are necessity.
Ekaterina Reshetnikova, sustainable investment adviser, Russian Carbon Fund