Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development has suggested two alternatives help curb greenhouse gas emissions, in a move to kickstart low carbon investment in the oil-rich nation.
It suggested including carbon-cutting initiatives either in an existing state investment programme to modernise industries, or to adjust upcoming legislation requiring the best available technologies to address pollution and energy efficiency.
A proposal has been sent to the government, a ministry spokeswoman told Carbon Pulse.
But the move is very preliminary as it would merely require the ministry to submit more detailed proposals by October, according to Anton Galenovich of business association Delovaya Rossiya.
However, the two alternatives also represent a step backwards from the advanced plans suspended by the government late last year, which would have created a government fund to pay for emission reductions generated by private sector projects – a scheme similar to the UN’s JI mechanism.
The government asked the ministry to rework the JI revamp plans in ways that would put less burden on state funds as crippling sanctions and oil price drops forced it to axe around 10% of spending.
Moscow’s recent INDC submission has been rated as inadequate by international observers, leading to concerns by domestic policy experts whether the government has any appetite for climate action in its current circumstances.
Amid the budget constraints, the ministry sent a four-page proposal to the executive branch of the government that suggested hiving off an existing government investment fund to award pilot projects that can demonstrate improvements in energy efficiency and CO2 reductions.
Galenovich said the idea could be effective only if it was combined with some form of emissions limit to ensure the reductions would not have happened anyway.
“There’s a big problem with additionality, because this looks like a business-as-usual scenario,” he said.
Alternatively, the ministry said it could include CO2 output as part of upcoming regulations requiring companies from 2018 to use best-available technologies.
Galenovich said the government was yet to explicitly refer to the use of financial penalties for those exceeding prescribed emission levels.
He said his organisation, whose members consist of many small, private companies, was lobbying to introduce such penalties in regulations due to take effect this summer and requiring mandatory reporting of environmental impacts for newly-built industrial facilities.
By Ben Garside – firstname.lastname@example.org