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Measures to combat climate change need to be balanced against the challenge of recovering economies from the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. This was expressed by Maxim Reshetnikov, the head of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, at the G20 Energy-Climate Ministerial Meeting in Naples on 23 July.
The world now faces the dual challenge of recovering from the pandemic and modernising countries' economic models to make them more resilient, he said.
"Post-pandemic recovery must be sustainable in every sense of the word. While responding to climate challenges, we cannot lose sight of our social responsibility and the need to restore jobs and growth," the minister said.
The climate agenda should be based on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, Reshetnikov stressed. However, each individual country must be able to choose its own path towards achieving the established collective goals.
There is a need to reduce carbon emissions in the most efficient way possible, the head of the Ministry of Economic Development added. "In this respect, we see significant potential for nuclear and hydropower as low greenhouse gas emitting energy sources - and these technologies should not be discriminated against," he is convinced.
It is also important to remember the absorption capacity of forests: without them, global carbon neutrality cannot be achieved. Projects to increase the absorption of emissions by forests and other ecosystems should therefore be formally recognised as a way of reducing the carbon footprint.
However, measures to combat climate change should be extended to cities. This could be the creation of parks and green areas as well as the practice of waste segregation. The replacement of transport with internal combustion engines by "green" modes of transport, including electric cars and electric trains, is not least important, Reshetnikov added.
"In 2021, the Moscow City Government has decided to stop purchasing public buses with internal combustion engines, except for special cases. There are more than 650 electric buses on the streets and by the end of 2021 the number will reach 1,000 - the number one in Europe," the minister said.
There are also plans to test the use of hydrogen-powered buses in Moscow in 2022. They are expected to emit ten times less CO2 than a conventional public bus, Reshetnikov said.
The minister recalled that Russia is taking active measures to combat climate change. For example, the President has signed a decree limiting greenhouse gas emissions, and a law has been passed aimed at this purpose. In addition, a draft Low-Carbon Development Strategy to 2050 is being negotiated by the government.
The country has also developed a national taxonomy of green finance. The system is expected to be operational as early as this year. The Moscow Exchange has already issued 24 billion roubles of green bonds (as of April 2021 ), while the forecast is for the volume to rise to 250-300 billion roubles.