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Russian parliament approves law to curb greenhouse gas emissions

Russia’s Lower House of Parliament approved a law that would limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and oblige companies producing large quantities of greenhouse gases to report their emissions.

Vladimir Burmatov, Chairman of the Committee on Ecology and Environmental Protection said that new legislation was the first step towards carbon regulation in the country and it would allow Russia to become a world leader in the climate agenda.

The legislation would introduce a framework for climate projects in the country and allow to trade carbon units that result from emission cuts or absorption.

“Russia is consistently fulfilling its international climate commitments, including those taken under the Paris Agreement and if the bill is adopted, Russia will become a world leader in the climate agenda in terms of national legislation, especially in terms of carbon regulation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mr Burmatov.

Russia joined the Paris climate change pact in 2019. New targets were due to be announced last year, but that has been put off until later this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Russia was often criticised for lack of ambitions toward meeting the accord’s goal of net-zero global emissions by 2050, aiming instead to develop a low-carbon economy in the next three decades. By 2030 Russia is set to reduce its emissions by 70 per cent compared to its 1990 level. However, the country can reach this goal easily due to the massive de-industrialisation that followed the fall of the Soviet Union.

A worrying factor for Russia is the EU’s plan of a cross-border carbon tax, which may affect some of its key raw-material producers and exporters, including miners.

“We do not exclude that there will be attempts to discriminate against our exporters, that is, to introduce a cross-border carbon levy in order to make our products less competitive,” stressed Vladimir Burmatov adding that Russian producers can lose billions of euros per year on this.

The new law would introduce so-called carbon units presented by Russian manufacturers when exporting products, informed Mr Burmatov.

The law still needs to be approved by the upper house of parliament and signed by President Vladimir Putin.

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