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Are Global Climate Challenges Restricting or Driving Development?
6 June 2019
15:00—16:15
KEY CONCLUSIONS
Global warming is a pressing issue on a global scale

For the world at large, the issue of global warming is more pressing than fundamentalist terrorism, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and uncontrollable migration. <...> Global warming is also more serious and dangerous because, unlike all of the problems I just mentioned, it affects each and every one of us — Anatoliy Chubais, President, Association for the Development of Renewable Energy (ADRE); Chairman of the Executive Board, RUSNANO Corporation .

Natural disasters have grown not only in impact, but also in frequency over the last 50 years. The causes of these environmental disasters are complex, but nobody in the scientific world today questions that they are directly related to global warming — Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, United Nations Development Programme.

Anthropogenic load is the main factor behind climate change

The intergovernmental Climate Change Expert Group has determined with a certainty of 95.5%, that climate change is the result of anthropogenic load — Ruslan Edelgeriyev, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation; Special Presidential Representative on Climate Issues.

Over the last 150 to 200 years, the use of hydrocarbon fuels has led to CO2 emissions. What is important is that this is not a side effect, it is a direct product of the use of any type of hydrocarbon fuel — Anatoliy Chubais, President, Association for the Development of Renewable Energy (ADRE); Chairman of the Executive Board, RUSNANO Corporation .

International cooperation is needed to fight climate change

The official state position is as follows: at a recent meeting, the President stated that Russia will do everything in its power in order to ratify the Paris agreement in the near future — Ruslan Edelgeriyev, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation; Special Presidential Representative on Climate Issues.

ISSUES
Negative effects of global warming on the economy

The natural disasters caused by climate change: they increase inequalities, they drive migration, and they decrease economic growth. Now again, can climate change drive development? I would start by saying that there is no development without climate change action today — Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, United Nations Development Programme.

Russian businesses are unwilling to consider climate issues threaten their competitiveness

There is a risk that our economy’s global competitiveness will fall, that Russian enterprises will become less competitive. <...> We can't ignore these risks — Mikhail Rasstrigin, Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.

Businesses find themselves in a complicated situation. But we understand that we need to find solutions somehow. As soon as the frightening phrase ‘carbon tax’ is uttered, businesses are up in arms, ready to protect their interests — Anatoliy Chubais, President, Association for the Development of Renewable Energy (ADRE); Chairman of the Executive Board, RUSNANO Corporation .

When [Russian companies] operate abroad, they are ready to start projects and reduce their hydrocarbon footprint. When we discuss this in the government – after all, this is clearly an issue of national security – here, these companies are afraid to lose a single rouble — Ruslan Edelgeriyev, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation; Special Presidential Representative on Climate Issues.

Insufficient measures to tackle climate change

There was a social survey: 72.2% of respondents believed that the Government of the Russian Federation needs to pay attention to the issue of climate change. 74% believed that the Russian Federation needs to take measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A third of those surveyed believed that the measures being taken by Russia today are insufficient. Half (46%) did not know anything at all about these measures — Ruslan Edelgeriyev, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation; Special Presidential Representative on Climate Issues.

SOLUTIONS
The government and businesses need to work together on finding a solution to climate challenges

We have to work with businesses to find a united position, so it does not turn out that in 15 years, the world has taken a large step forward, while we continue to argue about whether or not we should implement this or that tax, whether we should ratify the Paris Agreement, or not ratify it — Mikhail Rasstrigin, Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.

I would love to see more Russian companies taking the opportunity to actually be part of the solution when it comes to climate challenges. With a strong tradition of technological education and higher education overall in Russia in engineering, I think it would be great to see some of these companies on the stock market as well so that global investors like us, when we have a global mandate to invest in a sustainable way, could be participating much more in the Russian stock market as well — Lars Peter Elam Hakansson, Founder, Chairman of the Board of Directors, East Capital.

Taking action on an international level

What we really need is market-based and predictable policy measures that will drive decarbonization and make private businesses allocate enough capital into investments. These policy measures, always, when possible, should cross national borders. Because, obviously, CO2 does not respect national borders and electricity is also a product that flows very fluidly across national borders — Pekka Lundmark, President, CEO, Fortum Corporation.

Increasing investment in the Green economy

We believe that by investing more in infrastructure, by investing more in clean infrastructure and in carbon neutral infrastructure, we can save over USD 5 trillion, which can be reinvested in development — Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, United Nations Development Programme.

Financial institutions must play a large role in financing solutions to climate issues. Sberbank currently has a positive view of the renewable energy market — Vladimir Sitnov, Senior Vice President, Sberbank.

I do not have any doubts that, going forward, the turbines will continue being more powerful, bigger, the deployment of new technologies, new materials. This does not come alone. It comes with heavy investments. Our company alone last year invested more than 600 million in R&D, and we plan to continue that for decades to come — Juan Araluse, Vestas Wind Systems A/S..

For example, as we have in several countries where we are present, such as Italy or Spain, you can get to having renewables produce more than 55 or 60% of the electricity in a country, if you have a very massive level of digitalization in your grids. On the other hand, thanks to digitalization, you may also promote the better use of energy on the demand side — Simone Mori, Head of Europe and Euro-Mediterranean Affairs, Enel S.p.A..

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS