1 Dec 2023 09:47

Russian minister sees climate agenda becoming tool to restrict competition in world trade

MOSCOW. Dec 1 (Interfax) - The climate agenda is increasingly creeping into trade relations and becoming a means to protect markets from competition, Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov said in an interview with Interfax ahead of the COP28 UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai.

He said it is important that the recommendations to adjust countries' further climate course made following the Global Stocktake at COP28 do not revise the Paris Agreement and do not impose new obligations.

"There is a tendency that, instead of focusing on fulfillment of existing agreements, a creeping substitution is being initiated. The wording is adjusted here, further twisted there and we move increasingly further way from what we initially agreed on. The proprietors of certain technologies are cementing their leadership and the rest are being pushed to the periphery. Furthermore, the climate agenda is increasingly creeping into trade relations and becoming a means, essentially, to protect markets from competition," Reshetnikov said.

He said an important issue for Russia is to ensure the possibility of using Russian carbon units to offset the carbon footprint within the context of the cross-border regulation mechanisms being created.

"So far, unfortunately, we don't see an operating system. Yes, in general the international community has done a lot - we have standards, a clear understanding of climate projects, there is, in principle, a verification system. In Russia, all these standards have been adapted, but one thing is missing - the ability to use Russian carbon units," Reshetnikov said.

The European system is an example of the unscrupulous use of the climate agenda, he said.

"If this was genuinely for the climate, then they'd say 'okay guys, verify your carbon units according to international standards and we'll count them toward offsetting the carbon footprint of your products.' But they say 'no no, we're not interested in what you have there, we'll count your carbon footprint ourselves and you, please, compensate it in our European system.' In other words, 'don't spend $10 on CO2 capture [in Russia], just bring us $100 so that our products remain competitive,'" Reshetnikov said.