29 Jan 2024 20:53

Russian meat producers oppose introduction of greenhouse gas emission reporting

MOSCOW. Jan 29 (Interfax) - The National Union of Pork Producers, the National Union of Poultry Producers and the National Meat Association are asking the Economic Development Ministry and the Agriculture Ministry not to include the Russian agricultural sector among the industries that must report on greenhouse gas emissions.

According to their letter, a copy of which was reviewed by Interfax, the draft government decree "On Amending Russian Government Decree No. 707 from April 20, 2022" (developed by the Economic Development Ministry) supplements the form of the report on greenhouse gas emissions with Section 13 - on emissions of such gases in agriculture.

The authors of the letter recalled that in accordance with current government resolutions, the agricultural sector is not obliged to provide such reporting. In addition, agriculture is not a sector of the Russian economy subject to assessment of the achievement of greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

According to the authors of the letter, the introduction of mandatory reporting in this area with respect to agriculture is unreasonable, redundant and duplicative. "This reporting carries no message, is uninformative and useless from the point of view of carbon regulation," the letter said. Its authors report that tens of thousands of agricultural organizations and individual entrepreneurs, as well as millions of households in Russia are engaged in keeping animals. According to Rosstat, in 2022, about 38% of cattle were in household farms. Large companies will be able to submit reports, for which this will be an additional burden, increasing the administrative burden and the cost of production, the industry associations said.

At the same time, private subsidiary farms, of which more than 1.2 million have cattle, will not be observed. "As a result, the collected data can in no way be considered representative and cannot be used for anything," the letter said.

According to industry unions, the inclusion of agriculture in the forms of the report on greenhouse gas emissions does not allow for prospects of regulating greenhouse gas emissions in the Russian agricultural sector either. "Neither in the European Union, nor in other countries leading the climate agenda do mandatory mechanisms to reduce CO2 emissions apply to agriculture due to the low potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in this sector," the letter says. "We should not forget about the huge social role of agriculture. The thesis in the explanatory note to the draft decree that, along with greenhouse gas emissions from industrial sectors, greenhouse gases from livestock and crop production make a significant contribution to total greenhouse gas emissions is not justified and does not stand up to any criticism," they said.

Citing Rosstat data, the authors of the letter report that the share of agriculture in the structure of greenhouse gas emissions of all sectors of the economy excluding land use and forestry in 2021 amounted to 5.6%, which is lower than in 2019 (5.9%). While industry (12%) and energy (77.9%) together account for up to 90% of greenhouse gas emissions. If we calculate the share of agriculture taking into account land use, without which agriculture is not carried out, and forestry, then agriculture in Russia does not generate greenhouse gases, but, on the contrary, absorbs up to 17% of these gases emitted by all sectors of the economy.

According to the letter's authors, Russia, where, according to the FAO, the share of livestock in term of climate impact is one of the lowest in the world, can double its meat production without harming the global environment and climate. "In 25 years, by 2050, the demand for food, including meat, in the world will grow by 50%. Russia needs to actively participate in providing the world's population with animal proteins, including replacing them in the market of the EU, the U.S. and a number of other countries," the letter reads.

The development of the domestic agricultural sector at an accelerated pace is also important given that "the ever-increasing role of our country in ensuring global food security is becoming a pretext for dirty political games and manipulations, the industry associations said. "The U.S. Congress is considering the No Russia Agricultural Act, designed to support investment projects aimed at reducing the dependence of certain countries on goods from the Russian agricultural sector," the letter said.

In this regard, the authors of the letter believe that Russian agriculture should be excluded from the draft form of the report on greenhouse gas emissions.