The Ministry of Economy has developed the rules for the implementation of climate projects in Russia – their criteria, procedure and reporting form. Experts note the compliance of these documents with international standards – pointing out, however, that the results of such voluntary projects of companies cannot be used to offset emissions within the framework of the forthcoming cross-border carbon regulation of the European Union.
The Ministry of Economy has prepared drafts of three departmental orders defining the rules for the implementation of climate projects. Recall that in accordance with the law “On limiting greenhouse gas emissions” companies can launch voluntary projects to reduce emissions and increase absorption of greenhouse gases (see Kommersant on June 2). The documents of the Ministry of Economy clarify the criteria and procedure for classifying projects as climate projects, and also introduce a report form on their implementation. It is indicated that projects that are aimed, among other things, at achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement, that lead to a reduction in emissions or to an increase in their absorption, comply with the principles and goals of sustainable development, and are additional in relation to the mandatory requirements of the legislation of the Russian Federation, can be considered climate projects.
Projects will be classified as climate projects by accredited verifiers, to whom companies will submit documents on plans for the implementation of initiatives (or on the progress of their implementation). The company will inform the operator of the register of carbon units about the positive decision of the verifier. Companies (also verified) will submit reports on the implementation of the climate project to the Ministry of Economy and the registry operator.
“To date, a system of standards has been formed that will allow assigning status to carbon projects. Rosstandart will approve all processes by mid-November. And starting from the end of the year, it will be possible to accredit bodies for the verification and validation of greenhouse gases, – said the Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov during his visit to Sakhalin yesterday.
The Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs has already sent the Ministry of Economy information about the climate projects planned by the business. Among them are the Rusal project for aviation forest fire protection, the SUEK group’s project to improve the efficiency of fossil fuel use when replacing boiler houses with cogeneration facilities, and the EuroChem project for the utilization of CO2 emissions in the production process and the use of innovative fertilizers.
According to Vladimir Lukin, Director of the Department of Operational Risks and Sustainable Development of KPMG in Russia and the CIS, the documents of the Ministry of Economy “fully reflect the requirements of international standards and best practice in the implementation of climate projects.” Alexei Kokorin, Director of the Climate and Energy Program of WWF Russia, called the documents “workable”, noting the importance of including environmental protection and socio-ecological aspects in the criteria.
Although the results of climate projects cannot be counted towards offsetting the carbon footprint under the EU’s proposed cross-border carbon management mechanism, in the long term, this work “will create a basis for attracting investment and the introduction of low-carbon technologies,” said Vladimir Lukin.
Oleg Pluzhnikov, deputy chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Committee on ecology and nature management, believes that there is hardly any serious domestic demand for climate projects and carbon units. “Unfortunately, the law on limiting greenhouse gas emissions did not create incentives for the implementation of projects at the national level. There are no legal conditions for offsetting project results when calculating the carbon footprint neither in the EU, nor in Russia, nor in other countries of the world, and voluntary carbon markets work exclusively for developing countries, ”the expert said.