Staunton, August 2 – For more than a decade, Moscow has acknowledged that global warming is manmade and that the world needs to reduce its carbon footprint to counter it. This year, it even called climate change a threat to Russian national security, but beyond “grandiose plans,” it has taken few of the steps needed to achieve any of its goals, Lyubov Glazunova says.
A reporter on the international desk of News.ru, Glazunova says that the goals Moscow has established are in the right direction but “they are still far too cautious, postponing decarbonization for a long term or even to some unspecified date in the future” (ridl.io/ru/obnulenie-vybrosov-otvechaet-li-klimaticheskaja-politika-rossii-vyzovam-vremeni/).
Worse, she continues, the program is stymied because Moscow does not want to import carbon-saving technology from abroad and is unable to attract foreign investment to change current production and phase out coal. That leaves manufacturers in a difficult position, and means coal will dominate Russian energy production for some decades.
And that in turn will leave Russia ever further behind Europe which does important renewable energy components from China and which imposes clear goals, fines and tariffs from other countries like Russia which do not meet decarbonization targets the Europeans have specified.
In many cases, Glazunova says, Russia is hampered by the fact that its private sector plays such a tiny role in planning for renewable energy. The big state corporations are in the driver’s seat and they don’t want to give up their dominance. And the Kremlin for all its brave talk isn’t willing to take them on.
Russia needs a roadmap to phase out coal, but in fact, its use of coal has been rising, and its exports of that fuel have as well, although they are increasingly going to Asian markets rather than European ones because of EU restrictions. But that only hides the problem rather than solving it, the journalist says.
And still worse and typical of the Russian government’s approach to other industries as well. No punishments are being levied against those large corporations which remain in violation of stated goals, but those smaller firms which are involved in this case with renewable energy are “fair game for punitive fines.”
In such a situation, no one should be deceived by the bold plans the Kremlin regularly announces. The underlying consequences of its actual policies remain very, very different.