Mr. Alexander Bedritskyi
Presidential Advisor, the Special Representative for Climate in Russia
The leading governmental official in Russia dealing with climate change issues is Mr. Alexander Bedritskyi, the Presidential Advisor and the Special Representative for Climate in Russia. While the Paris Agreement was signed by Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Khloponin, Mr. Alexander Bedritskyi strategically leads the preparation work for ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement in Russia, and overall implementation of Russia’s commitments on the Paris Agreement. He conducts regular meetings of the Intergovernmental Working Group on Climate Change Issues and Sustainable Development. Mr. Bedritskyi represented Russia at the 22nd Conference of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (1st meeting of the Paris Agreement’s parties in Marrakesh) and announced that Russia has initiated the improvement of national legislation in respect to the state regulation of GHG emissions, and implementation of actions aimed at the development of a long-term Strategy for Low Carbon Development (for the period until 2050).
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The Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation plays the leading role in the coordination of implementation of the Paris Agreement commitments at the national level. However, at the moment there is a transfer period between former Minister Mr. Alexey Ulyukaev and the new Minister Mr. Maksim Oreshkin who was appointed on the 30th of November, 2016.
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Climate Program Advocate
There are several bright people leading the advocacy on climate change in Russia. Mr. Oleg Deripaska is one of them. He is the founder and principal owner of Basic Element, a leading Russian business group; the founder and the Chairman of the Executive Committee and the president of the global aluminum company UC RUSAL; president of En+ Group, and Russia’s largest privately held power company EuroSibEnergo.
Oleg Deripaska is one of the strong advocates for introduction of a global carbon tax (carbon levy), a universal mechanism for financing international climate programs that would reduce demand for high-carbon emission fuels and discourage businesses from emitting greenhouse gases.
Oleg Deripaska is also the Vice President of the Russian Chamber of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs where the climate change issues are discussed regularly at the meetings with the business representatives. He is among a few world business leaders who have concerns about the global threat of deforestation. He also stands for the creation of an international carbon fund to be refilled from emission taxes and used to support innovative renewable energy projects. The main idea is that all countries shall agree upon a minimum carbon tax and apply it to their carbon emitting producers, with each country administering the tax nationally.
Deripaska’s RUSAL is taking active measures to address climate change. Since 1990, RUSAL has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 54%. Among RUSAL’s latest steps to mitigate climate change effects was the creation of the ‘Climate partnership of Russia’, an initiative that consolidates efforts of Sberbank, RusNano, RusHydro and Ingosstrakh that will work in Russia and abroad to seek rational solutions to help companies prevent the damaging effects of global climate change.
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Climate Program Opponent
In general, the main opponents of the Paris Agreement in Russia are the business representatives who own and/or manage huge coal-fired power generation or extensive energy-consuming assets. One of them is Mr. Andrey Melnichenko, the founder and principal owner of three large Russian industrial holdings: EuroChem, Siberian Coal Energy Company, and Siberian Generation Company.
Andrey Melnichenko recognizes the climate change issue. He assumes, however, that the planet’s population has more significant problems such as a shortage or even lack of energy and water resources, and that these problems are more vital and pressing. He also does not believe in a great future for renewable energy generation due to natural limitations for generation capacity, but trusts in new technologies for coal-fired generation along with new production technologies in agriculture and other sectors. He argues against any limitations on carbon emissions for industries and business in general.
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