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Leaders Summit on Climate

Vladimir Putin took part, via videoconference, in the Leaders Summit on Climate. Organized by the United States, the event is being held on April 22–23.

The President of Russia put forth Russia’s position regarding the development of broad international cooperation aimed at mitigating the negative consequences of global climate change.

On the Russian side, the summit was also attended by Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Alexander Kozlov and Adviser to the President and Special Presidential Representative on Climate Issues Ruslan Edelgeriyev.

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Speech at the Leaders Summit on Climate

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President,

Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

Our discussion today has demonstrated our deep mutual concern over climate change and our interest in stepping up international efforts to resolve this problem. The success of our efforts will largely determine the future of the entire planet, the development prospects of every country, people’s welfare and their quality of life.

We believe that the universal agreements reached at the UN provide a reliable legal framework for the joint efforts of states to control and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

I would like to point out that Russia is scrupulously implementing its international commitments in this sphere. This concerns, first of all, the implementation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. We have been working energetically to formulate modern legislation to ensure reliable control over carbon emissions and to stimulate their reduction.

Yesterday I delivered my annual Address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, and one of the top priority tasks I have set in terms of socioeconomic development was to substantially limit cumulative emissions in our country by 2050.

I am sure that this task is feasible despite Russia’s size, its geographical, climatic and structural peculiarities. Let me recall that compared to 1990, Russia has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions more than many other countries. These emissions were cut in half – from 3.1 billion to 1.6 billion tonnes of СО2 equivalent. This was a result of the fundamental restructuring of Russian industry and energy over the past 20 years.

As a result, now 45 percent of our energy balance comes from low-emission energy sources, including nuclear power. It is common knowledge that nuclear power plants produce almost zero greenhouse gas emissions throughout their life cycle.

We intend to continue increasing the scale of associated gas utilisation. We will also continue implementing our large-scale programme for ecological modernisation and higher energy efficiency in all economic sectors. We will ensure the capture, storage and use of carbon dioxide from all sources and create the infrastructure for producing hydrogen as both a raw material and a source of energy.

I would like to mention in this context that Russia’s Sakhalin Region has launched a pilot project to create a carbon pricing and trading system. This project will allow this Russian region to reach carbon neutrality by 2025.

Obviously, the situation that provoked the global warming and related problems emerged a long time ago. What do we think about comprehensive solutions to these problems?

First. Carbon dioxide has been in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. Therefore, it is not enough to talk just about new amounts of emissions. It is important to absorb the carbon dioxide that has already accumulated in the atmosphere. It is no exaggeration to say that Russia is making an enormous contribution to the absorption of global emissions, both our own and those of others, owing to the absorbing capacity of our ecosystems, which is estimated at 2.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent a year.

Second, we must take into account absolutely every cause of global warming. For example, methane accounts for 20 percent of anthropogenic emissions. The greenhouse effect of each tonne of methane is 25–28 times greater than a tonne of СО2. Experts believe that if we could halve methane emissions in the next 30 years, global temperatures would decrease by 0.18 degrees by 2050. The difference between this figure and the target set in the Paris Agreement is about 45 percent.

In this context, it would be extremely important to develop broad and effective international cooperation in the calculation and monitoring of all polluting emissions into the atmosphere.

We urge all interested countries to take part in joint research, to invest in climate projects that can have a practical effect and to redouble efforts to create low-carbon technologies to mitigate the consequences and adjust to climate change.

Third, I have no doubt that climate efforts should, of course, rally the efforts of the entire international community. Russia is willing to propose a number of joint projects and discuss possible incentives for foreign companies that would like to invest in clean technology, including in our country.

And lastly, global development should not just be green but also sustainable in the full meaning of the word – and for all countries without exception. And consequently, it should be closely connected with progress in such high-priority areas as efforts against poverty and closing development gaps.

In conclusion, I would like to emphasise once again that the Russian Federation is genuinely interested in stepping up international cooperation so that we can continue to search for effective solutions to climate change, as well as other acute global problems. In fact, this should be the goal of the current video summit.

Thank you for your attention.

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