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Position of the Russian Socio- Ecological Union on the issues of climate change and energy policy

Adopted on November 11, 2008 at the all-Russian RSEU Conference on “Public participation in the development of the national politics in the area of climate and energy.”

Position of the Russian Socio-Ecological Union (RSEU) on the issues of climate changes and energy is a unifying platform and action manual in the area of the climate change for the RSEU-member and other public organizations.

RSEU believes that situation connected with the climate change and its consequences on both global and country/regional levels requires immediate and systematic actions on the level of the Russian Government, Subjects of Federation, and municipal formations with involvement of public organizations, businesses and particular citizens. Issues of the climate change and development of energy are interrelated and require coordinated political decisions and actions on all levels.

Climate change presents one of the most acute social and environmental problems of the modernity. Manifestation and consequences of climate change for Russia, including dissolution of ice in the arctic zone, dissolution of the ever-frost layers, shifting of the climatically favorable conditions to the zones of risk farming and reduction of crops, increase of the number and intensity of hazardous weather phenomena, social migration, migration of animals and micro organisms and many others have not been sufficiently researched and evaluated. Damage from the climatic changes might become catastrophic for the economy and population of both RF and the entire world if the necessary measures to reduce emission of the greenhouse gases will not have been undertaken.

In order to keep the global warming on the level of no more than +2 оС, countries with well-developed economies (countries listed in the Appendix I of the Kyoto Protocol) must reduce emissions for no less than 25-40 percent by 2020 and 50-80 percent by 2050.

It is necessary to realize the special importance and responsibility of Russia in the matter of reduction of the greenhouse gases emission for the following reasons:

  • Historically, Russia is one of the major emitters of the greenhouse gases and presently is the third in the world by the СО2 emission;
  • Emission of the greenhouse gases per person is also on a relatively high level in Russia;
  • Russian position at international negotiations on the climate change issues has a big symbolic importance for the countries with transitional economies.

In the opinion of RSEU, the most efficient measures of resolving the problems of the climate change in the field of energy are introduction of the renewable energy sources, energy-saving, and energy-efficient technologies.

At present, carbon energy sources predominate in the energy balance of Russia. This factor, along with the low energy-efficiency and high energy consumption in all economic sectors lead to strengthening of the anthropogenic contribution into the greenhouse effect and unfavorable social and environmental consequences. Nuclear energy, internationally officially acknowledged as not corresponding to the criteria of sustainable development, is mistakenly considered in Russia as “unpolluted” energy, perspective for reduction of the greenhouse gases emission, despite the unresolved problems of nuclear waste, high degree of subsidy assistance and danger of nuclear catastrophes.

In the meantime, the country has immense resources and positive experience of introduction of renewable energy sources in various regions; evaluation of the energy-saving potential in Russia amounts to no less than 40%.

Experience of the Kyoto Protocol implementation in Russia and, in particular, a number of Projects of Joint Implementation (PJI) show that measures of reduction of the greenhouse gases emission at the account of energy-saving, energy-efficiency and replacement of the hydrocarbonic energy sources at the account of renewable ones can give positive effect for the environment and society, and be economically effective. At the same time, the mechanism of quota selling within the frames of Article 17 of the Kyoto Protocol does not provide any actual improvement of the situation from the position of reduction of the anthropogenic load on the climate. Russia’s introduction of a scheme of targeted green investments, providing assigning of the means gained from direct sales of quotas for realization of environmental projects, could be quite perspective in this regard.

Unfortunately, the “Energy Strategy of Russia,” which includes development of renewable energy sources (RE), does not contain target indexes of the hydrocarbonic sources replacing by renewable ones. The state measures of support of REs, as well as and the corresponding legislative base and the existing tax system do not favor development of the “green energy” market. Real actions on implementation of energy efficiency and reduction of energy consumption per IGP unit are practically non-existent up until now.

In the recent times, the state policy started to make a slow turn towards the side of secure energy. The RF Presidential Verdict № 889 as of July 4, 2008 “On specific measures on increasing energetic and environmental efficiency of the Russian economy” has been adopted. An RF government regulation № 426 as of June 3, 2008 “On qualification of the generating object functioning on the basis of exploitation of renewable energy sources” was issued; besides, ”Qualification regulations of a generating object functioning on the basis of exploitation of renewable energy sources” are of effect as of October 1, 2008.

However, issues of energy-efficiency and climate change are not being considered in Russia in complex. Measures directed at mitigation and adaptations of consequences of climate change are missing in the program of social and economic development of the Russian Federation for the medium-term development. Inter-office cooperation in the area of solving the climate change and energy-efficiency still remains inefficient. A new Federal Law “On energy-saving and enhancement of energy-efficiency” prepared many years ago still remains non-adopted; this law was meant as the basis for elaboration of regional normative documents and formation of long-term target programs. Until now, not a single regulatory legal act providing regulation of emissions or drains of greenhouse gases in any sector of Russian economy or foreseeing development and adoption of corresponding measures of the climate change adaptation has been adopted.

RSEU sees the mission of public organizations in facilitating development of renewable energy sources, energy-saving and energy-efficiency; in supporting of corresponding legislative base and lobbying of adoption of the new energetic strategy of Russia including development of renewable energy sources with target indexes of replacing of hydrocarbonic energy sources with renewable energy sources; in facilitating implementation of a tax system favoring development of the “green energy” market.

RSEU COSIDERS THE FOLLOWING MEASURES NECESSARY FOR EFFICIENT ALTERATION OF THE SITUATION:

In the area of dialogue with citizens and public awareness:

  1. Development of an on-going dialogue between public organizations and state authority bodies, scientific society, and business representatives on the issues of sustainable development of energy, reduction of the negative impact of the energy on the climate, social and economic adaptation to the global climate change.
  2. Establishment in the RF of mechanisms of coordination and consideration of opinions and positions of all interested parties in decision making in the area of:
  • strategy of the energy development in Russia as a whole;
  • implementation and efficiency evaluation of the programs of adaptation to the climate change;
  • monitoring of social and environmental consequences of activities in the field of energy and execution of compensation and rehabilitation measures;
  • planning, activities and decommissioning of energy sites.
  • Information exchange on the issues of climate change, sustainable energy and necessary actions in this area.
  • In the area of legislation:

    1. Development of the legislative base and federal target programs in the area of climate and energy directed at reduction of the greenhouse gases emission and prevention of climate change and its consequences at the account of priority development of the secure energy: renewable energy sources, energy-efficiency and energy-saving, as well as forecasting and planning of the adaptation measures.
    2. Establishment and implementation of short-term and long-term plans on developing renewable energy and enhancement of energy-efficiency at the regional and municipal levels.
    3. Securing on the legislative level of target indexes of developing of renewable energy sources and cogeneration.

    In the area of traditional energy production and transportation methods:

    1. Modernization and enhancement of the energy-efficiency of the objects of energy production, including those within JIP. Commissioning of the new generating capacities should be carried out simultaneously with decommissioning of the obsolete capacities.
    2. Termination of subsiding of the traditional energy (in the first place, nuclear and major hydro energy).
    3. Abandonment of the nuclear energy development and construction of major dams. RSEU is strongly against developing of the energy solutions often presented as “alternative” ones and as if facilitating resolution of the climate problem: nuclear energy, and hydro energy based on construction of dams on the lowland rivers and major dams (by classification of the World Commission on Dams). Social and environmental (and long-term economical) expenses of such projects in many times exceed their hypothetical advantages. In connection with this, RSEU is consistently opposing plans of construction on new and extension of the exploitation period of the existing nuclear reactors; it supports their gradual decommissioning.
    4. Prohibition of construction of major energy objects within the territory with clear ever-frost layers, destruction of which will lead to changes of the ever-frost regime in the adjacent territories, or might cause emission of significant amounts of the green-house gases into the atmosphere, as well as of placing of such objects in the valuable and vulnerable natural territories or within immediate proximity to those.
    5. Evaluation of the necessity of commissioning new capacities of traditional energy, expediency of exploitation of the old capacities, and construction of new networks from the point of view of e decentralization potential of the energy on the basis of RES in order to improve extra-centralization of the energy supply.

    In the area of energy production by renewable energy sources:

    1. By 2020, raising of the quota of energy produced by renewable energy sources to 20% of the newly commissioned capacities (including realization of the potential of the decentralized power supply).
    2. Transformation of the electrical energy market with the purpose to guarantee priority access of the renewable energy to the networks,
    3. Provision of guarantees for exact and sustainable profitability for investors, e.g., through increased tariffs for renewable energy and return of investments or payments in case of implementation of energy efficiency measures.
    4. Increasing expenses for researches in the area of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
    5. Providing consumers with the possibility to choose energy supplier or possibility to buy energy produced by renewable energy sources.
    6. Stimulation of the bio fuel production under condition of priority use of the biofuel made of wastes; organization of comprehensive consideration of possible social consequences of the food crop substitution with technical crop, and prohibition of bio fuel development at the account of genetically modified organisms.

    In the area of energy consumption, energy efficiency and energy saving:

    1. Priority introduction of the energy saving and energy efficiency measures as of the biggest and most clean source of energy. By the data of the International Energy Agency, energy received at the account of these measures is 4 times cheaper than the one received from new energy generating objects.
    2. Implementation and use of strict standards of energy efficiency in energy consumption for buildings and vehicles.
    3. Modernization of industrial enterprises and technical equipment with the purpose of energy efficiency enhancement, including those within ASW.
    4. Reduction of the energy consumption level per IGP unit for no less than two times in 5 years (which corresponds to the present world level) through modernization of the existing enterprises, in the first place, through providing incentives for the hi-tech development and management upgrading.
    5. Including of energy saving in construction and housing/public utilities sector into the priorities of the RF state policies; energy saving potential in this sector amounts to 40-70 %.
    6. Introduction of the labeling system and other mechanisms revealing environmental information on a product from the energy efficiency point of view.

    In the area of limitation and control over the greenhouse gases emission:

    1. Freezing (non-exceeding) of the present emission level of the RF greenhouse gases which would allow Russia to take responsibility for the 25-40% decrease as compared to the 1990 level by 2020 and assume responsibilities at the international negotiations on climate change not to exceed 2-degree warming.
    2. Liabilities on the greenhouse gases emission reduction within the frames of an agreement coming into effect after 2012 shall have legally binding character and be defined on the basis of principles of historical responsibility, financial opportunities and the potential of emission reduction.
    3. Establishing a national cadastre of the greenhouse gases emission sources (by regions), regional and municipal cadastres (by companies and by enterprises).
    4. Introduction of financial instruments of liabilities of Subjects of Federation, municipal formations, and companies for the greenhouse gases emission,
    5. Development and implementation of the technologies of accumulation and utilization of landfill and associated gases.
    6. Consideration of external social and environmental disbursements of energy production and introduction of the system of greenhouse gases emission sales.
    7. Preservation of low disturbed forest territories and marsh ecosystems and enhancement of measures on their protection; preservation of forest massifs as of a source of oxygen and CO2 adsorbent.
    8. Carrying out monitoring of Projects of Mutual Implementation accomplished under the frames of Kyoto Protocol from the point of view of their environmental, economic, and social efficiency.

    In the area of adaptation to the actual climate changes:

    1. Carrying out of a survey on the consequences of climate change for the nature, human health, economics, and social situation in Russia and particular regions in the nearest future.
    2. Significant increase of the state financial and organizational support of the scientific researches in the area of climate change issues (both in the area of analyses of the ways of emission reduction and adaptation to the outcomes).
    3. Adoption of the national and regional programs of adaptation to the climate change with consideration of the most vulnerable territories, population groups and natural sites.
    4. Developing new and supporting already existing educational programs on the issues of climate change and energy in accordance with UN Frame Classification on Climate Change.
    5. Carrying out of a Russian survey similar to the Stern Review which could indicate the economic outcomes of the climate change process for Russia by comparing the costs of carrying out measures on the greenhouse gases emission reduction and adaptation.
    6. Provision of flattening of conditions and opportunities for sustainable development of the Russian Federation regions at the account of activities in the area of climate change within the country.

    The Russian Socio-Ecological Union believes that Russia has the necessary internal conditions for undertaking considerable measures on the greenhouse gases emission. These conditions include:

    • reduction of CO2 and methane emission in the absolute terms; possibly, through relatively inexpensive projects and measures (inexpensive in terms of cost per emission reduction unit);
    • there is a big resource for significant reduction of emission per IGP unit;
    • Russia has relatively low specific emission of CO2 per unit of energy and heat production at major power stations (at the account of utilization of gas and combined cycle);
    • Russia has the possibility to significantly increase amounts of renewable energy and to achieve that through relatively inexpensive projects.