27 Sep 2021 15:01

Russia preparing to implement projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions - Reshetnikov

YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK. Sept 27 (Interfax) - The system of standards to permit implementing green projects in Russia has practically been formed, and the federal law on greenhouse gas emissions is to be amended accordingly, Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov said on Monday during a meeting with the Sakhalin Region government regarding the climate experiment intended to be conducted in the region.

"We have done much this year in terms of the climate agenda. A law on reducing greenhouse gas emissions has been adopted. In the second half of the year, amendments will be made to it upon the instruction of the Russian President [Vladimir Putin]. We plan to add [to the law] a verification of reporting," Reshetnikov said during the meeting that was broadcast on YouTube.

Reshetnikov added that the law envisages "soft regulation" comprising the two elements of mandatory carbon reporting starting already next year as well as the implementation of climate projects. The minister explained that there are emerging concepts of the carbon footprint of products, carbon units, and that it will be possible to implement the projects.

According to Reshetnikov, the Russian government last week approved a classification system for green projects that will be in line with European approaches.

"As of today, we have almost completely formed a system of standards that will allow us to implement carbon projects. The final standard will be approved in the coming months. We have set a task for the Federal Agency on Technical Regulation and Metrology (Rosstandart) [to complete] by mid-November. All processes are underway. In the first quarter [of 2022], we will be able already to begin the process of verifying all climate projects according to Russian standards that are established based on internationally recognized standards," Reshetnikov said.

"Following this, we are launching the process of recognizing our entire system at the international level. Moreover, at the end of 2023, we should receive the Russian accreditation system as recognized at the international level. All plans on this topic have been drawn up, the tasks have been set, and all authorities have joined in the work that is being coordinated and controlled by the Russian government," the minister added.

Reshetnikov said that a large interdepartmental working group has been created under the Russian government in this area, and it is headed by First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov.

"Our main task is to achieve an international system for the recognition of carbon units so that the fight against reduction of CO2 [emissions] and the fight against [global] warming goes where it is the most effective, and with the most effective technologies to do this," Reshetnikov said.

Reshetnikov said that special attention in this work is being paid to the Sakhalin experiment. [There are plans to implement a project in the region in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to achieve carbon neutrality]. "A special federal bill has been drafted for the Sakhalin project, and the bill has already been agreed and submitted to the Russian government. The bill envisages a regime for joining other regions [countries] to it," the minister noted. "The Sakhalin project is to receive a special regulation system associated with emission quotas [for CO2], with a system of quota trading, specifically, a system with incentives and fines, when we will talk to economic entities that will be required to comply with the quotas and to fulfill them," he said.

Reshetnikov also said that there was not a goal to impose fines immediately, and this should be a delayed mechanism.

"In discussions with companies, we have agreed that this would be at the end of 2024-2025. The goal of fines is not to collect money for the budget, but to set some limit value. In order for it not to result as sometimes happens with us, it is simpler just to pay a fine, to pay off, and let the government figure it out on its own. We are not creating the system for this, but to create a market system, where the government would perform the role of a regulator exclusively. Companies must implement this in the most efficient way themselves," the minister said.

Reshetnikov arrived on Monday in Sakhalin for a working visit, and he is scheduled on September 28 to participate in the Sakhalin 2021 Oil and Gas Far Eastern Energy Forum in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.