Russia exploring plans for domestic carbon market

By Olga Dobrovidova

Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development is working on options for a possible national carbon market, RTCC has learned.

Sources report that the ministry expects to produce an ‘early-stage’ list of suggestions by March 2013.

According to the Climate Doctrine plan of action, MED has to develop some vaguely defined “economic instruments” by 2020 to ensure an eventual transition to low-carbon development.

Although the ministry has a joint working group on GHG emissions reduction with Delovaya Rossiya, one of the two major business lobby groups, a formal decision to proceed with carbon market development is something that was not widely anticipated.

“Ministry of Economic Development is currently working on such a list (of possible options for developing a national carbon market)”, a source told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

Moscow pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol at the Doha round of UN climate talks

Meanwhile, a national 2020 goal of 15-25% reductions in emissions below 1990 levels that was in the works throughout 2012 has not yet been adopted – it is still in the President’s administration, which is expected to present its conclusions next week.

Earlier estimates showed that a 15-25% target might be too weak for any possible national carbon market to function sustainably, and that led many to believe that for the moment, such a market is effectively off the table.

A fresh interministerial working group on climate change and sustainable development, led by Russia’s climate chief, Dr Alexander Bedritsky, is also expected to convene for its first meeting in early February.

The official list of its members is not public knowledge, but several prominent experts from MED and other ministries, business and civil society organizations are reported to have joined the new institution.

Should the country indeed decide to design a national emissions trading system, it would be joined by its nearest neighbours, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, which also, incidentally, might soon officially opt out of Kyoto second commitment period.

All of these developments seem to mark a rather exciting start of 2013, officially named the Environment Protection Year in Russia.

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