Russia: a green giant by 2060?
In 2019 Vladimir Putin was still telling people that the causes of climate change were not clear. In the meantime the Kremlin has abandoned its vague stance and has announced plans to make Russia climate-neutral by 2060. Commentators discuss how realistic this is, what led to the change of heart and how serious Moscow is about achieving its goal.
Export economy needs green transition
Commenting in NV, Sergei Guriev, former chief economist of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, has an explanation for the new green tones coming from the Kremlin:
“In particular, the EU plans to introduce a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM), which will impose a levy on some carbon-intensive imports from outside the bloc. ... [T]he Russian firms that will be hit by the CBAM - exporters of steel, aluminum, and fertilizers - are important political players who have managed to convince the government and the president to take the EU’s policy change seriously. ... The other reason for Putin’s apparent decarbonization drive is that the climate-change issue presents Russia with an opportunity to mitigate its international isolation.”
This will really hurt
Commenting on gordonua.com, political scientist Igor Eidman believes the EU tariffs could lead to a collapse of the Russian economy:
“Russia will probably not be able to meet the requirements of a new carbon-neutral economy. The losses the country faces from the EU's planned introduction of a cross-border CO2 tax are estimated at tens of billions of euros. Russia is threatened with a loss of revenue from raw material exports and, as a consequence, an economic collapse. This scenario is quite likely to materialise in the next five to ten years.”
Climate change as the perfect scapegoat
Climate change will no doubt serve as an all-purpose excuse for all kinds of problems in the country, Novaya Gazeta fears:
“Global warming can be blamed for any disaster: only recently, dozens of surfers were seriously poisoned after surfing in the Gulf of Finland with astroviruses and rotaviruses. The water stank of faeces. You think this was due to funds for the construction of sewage systems being misappropriated? Nope, it's global warming. Or the dead fish in Lake Pyazino. You think [mining company] Nornickel is leaking a hellish mixture from its mine dump into the tundra? Nope, it's climate change! And the increase in cancer cases in Krasnoyarsk? Is it because of the smog over the city? Nope, it's climate change. And so on.”