Emission reductions is not yoke but incentive

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered on April 2, 2014 to provide reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 by no more than 75% of the volume in 1990. Representatives of environmental organizations have long insisted on controlling greenhouse gas emissions and on introducing emission charges.

The Government press service: "Implementation of measures contained in the plan will confirm the consistency of the Russian policy toward the ultimate objective of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change: preventing catastrophic climate consequences of anthropogenic origin. This will also prove possible levels of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the formation of Russia's position in the negotiations on drafting a new climate agreement for the period after 2020, to provide conditions for transition to a low-carbon (energy efficient) way of developing the national economy for the period up to 2020 and further on."

The sectors of the economy, in which measures to limit, reduce or prevent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases shall be applied, include energy, transport, industry, agriculture, forestry and waste management. The plan included measures for creation of the legal framework in the field of carbon regulation, implementation of assessment and prediction of greenhouse gas emissions, including the assessment for potential emissions reductions by sectors of the economy and creation of a system of measures for state regulation of greenhouse gas emissions that require government subsidies.

Detailed assessments and forecasts for emissions for 2020 and 2030 are planned. As a result, it is assumed that accountability and standards will be linked together and measures of state regulation of greenhouse gas emissions will be taken. These shall be incentive trading schemes, which would provide benefits to those who implement new technologies.

Shaping the future management of greenhouse gas emissions was discussed at a meeting of the joint working group of the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) with "Business Russia", which took place shortly after issuing the order.

At the moment, the way for regulation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the country has not been formulated exactly – either with the help of taxes or a market system. According to experts, it can be assumed that some part of the emissions will be regulated by market mechanisms, similar to a carbon market. Most likely, it will be an internal system, convenient, in the first place, for Russian business. Namely for this purpose, MED asked representatives of business to draft proposals and comments for the new regulatory apparatus.

Experts see changes in the structure of reporting and monitoring by companies among specific measures. The question is whether to include emissions of greenhouse gases in the regular reporting standards for air pollution, by introducing special graphs with the volume of CO2 equivalent. The level for reporting is discussed - at the level of enterprises or companies. A proposal exists to assess emissions at the early stages without verification, at least for the first couple of years, to simplify and reduce the costs of reporting. Organizations engaged in economic and other activities on the Russian territory will report on greenhouse gas emissions. Since June 2016, the collection, verification and registration of relevant reports will be within the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

According to the participants of the MED - "Business Russia" working group, the significance of the role of the Russian Federation subjects in testing emerging economic mechanism for environmental protection will remain.

Representatives of Russian environmental NGOs support the "low-carbon" steps of the Russian leadership. NGOs have long insisted on controlling greenhouse gas emissions and on introduction of emission charges. They think that the international experience shows that payments may be not a yoke for enterprises, but the incentive for new technologies and longer-term business planning.

The text of the order of the Russian Government: