Spotlight Issue: First Russian Climate Forum, August 21-22, 2017
The First Russian Climate Forum was organized by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection and was held August 21-22. Around 7000 people visited the event, including international experts from 17 countries and representatives of 36 Russian regions.
More than 300 reports, expert opinions and case studies were presented on the most trending issues, such as building effective climate strategies, urban development, climate risks and business opportunities, innovations and technologies, renewable energy, and international experience in implementing climate projects.
The speakers represented Russian Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Energy, Roshydromet, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, British embassy, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group etc. Among the representatives of the business sector were the largest Russian and international companies including corporations such as Gazprom, Mosenergo, Sberbank Russia, SUEK Group, L’Oréal, Philip Morris International, etc.
A very interesting discussion on Paris Agreement took place during Climate Forum. The discussion was focused on the controversial perception of climate change issues in Russia and the general need to implement reasonable energy efficiency measures that will be beneficial to economy. Currently oftentimes natural resources are being consumed inefficiently. The second part of the discussion concerned withdrawal of United States from Paris Agreement and its impact on Russia. In light of United States withdrawal, a possibility of Russia resigning from the agreement was discussed. One of key questions raised was the possibility of reevaluating signing conditions for Russia. The question of the absorptive capacity of Russian boreal forests was discussed in detail. The boreal forest absorptive capacity has been poorly evaluated. Updating of the absorptive capacity of the boreal forest could in turn impact Russia’s pledge to the Paris agreement. Forest absorption of CO2 emissions is a major component of Russia’s current Paris Agreement pledge..
The main conclusion was that in case of reevaluation of signing conditions it is possible for Russia to include more favorable conditions that could give Russia a more significant role during implementation process.
Status: Right Direction
It is commendable that such an initiative as the Climate Forum took place. This event raised many important questions and drew attention to Russia’s role in Paris agreement. However, it is still unclear if this initiative will be repeated since it in 2017 it was held as part of the Year of Ecology in Russia. It is essential that such activities take place regularly.
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Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation
4/6, Bolshaya Gruzinskaya str., Moscow, Russia