The participants in the second session, dedicated to Climate Change and the Environment, discussed, in particular, sustainable development and the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Following the summit, the G20 Rome Leaders’ Declaration was adopted.
The annual G20 Summit was held in Rome on October 30–31 under the auspices of Italy’s Presidency in in-person format with the opportunity to connect via videoconference. At the venue, the Russian Federation was represented by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov and Representative of the Russian President in the G20 (Russia’s G20 Sherpa) Svetlana Lukash.
The G20 Summit focused on three interconnected priorities proposed by the Italian Presidency: People, Planet, Prosperity. Participants in the top-level meeting paid special attention to the restoration of the global economy, overcoming the coronavirus pandemic, counteracting climate change and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
They discussed the most pressing issues such as ensuring broad access to vaccination, stabilising the key energy, commodities and financial markets, and improving progress in lowering the anthropogenic load on the climate and ecosystems. Participants in the summit set specific goals on improving international cooperation in digital transformation, transiting to a low-carbon economy, and reducing the social, economic and technological divide. They also reviewed practical efforts to counteract unfavourable trends amid growing poverty, hunger and unemployment.
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The Russian President’s speech at the second working session of the G20 summit
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President of the G20 Mario Draghi,
Indeed, the matters related to combatting climate change that we are discussing today are of the utmost importance and concern each and every one of us. Russia, like other countries, is experiencing – actually experiencing – the negative bearing of global warming, and here is why: we are faced with desertification and soil erosion, and we are especially worried about the thawing of the permafrost, which accounts for a significant part of Russia’s territory.
I would like to note that the average annual temperature in Russia is growing faster than around the globe, more than 2.5 times. It has increased by almost half a degree in the past 10 years. In the Arctic, as we all know, the warming is even faster.
Naturally, our country is vigorously participating and taking the lead in international climate mitigation and stabilisation efforts. We faithfully comply with all our obligations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement. We are consistently implementing a policy to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions and are taking steps to improve energy efficiency in our national economy, to modernise our power generation industry, and reduce associated gas discharge from oil production.
The low-carbon power industry is growing at a rapid pace in Russia. The share of energy generated from practically carbon-free sources such as nuclear power plants, hydroelectric dams, wind and solar power plants exceeds 40 percent today, or 86 if we include natural gas, which is the lowest-carbon fuel among hydrocarbons. This is one of the best indicators in the world.
According to international experts, Russia is among global decarbonisation leaders. In the past 20 years, Russia’s economy’s carbon intensity has been declining by an average of 2.7 percent annually, which is better than across the globe and even better than in the G7 countries.
Recently, we decided to implement a new programme to improve energy efficiency for the period until 2035. This programme will make an important contribution to our achieving carbon neutrality by 2060 at the latest. We have publicly announced this commitment.
Moreover, we do not just intend to achieve carbon neutrality; we are also going to make sure that in the next three decades, the accumulated volume of net greenhouse gas emissions in Russia will be even lower than that of our neighbours and colleagues in the European Union. This is a perfectly achievable objective for Russia.
We hope that together with our partners we will make long-term plans and prioritise them in our energy sectors, relying on the principles of technological neutrality, while objectively taking into account the carbon footprint of various types of power generation. In particular, I would like to mention the carbon footprint of solar energy, which, according to research findings, is four times higher than that of nuclear energy.
It is important that the international community’s efforts be directed toward supporting primarily the most effective environmental projects. It is our suggestion that experts begin ranking such projects according to their results as measured by how much greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is reduced for every dollar invested.
It cannot be ruled out that some of the projects included in the ranking, such as projects to preserve, for instance, forests in Russia and Latin America, will turn out to be more effective than investments in renewable energy in other countries.
I would also like to underscore that, in our opinion, it is not enough to simply reduce emissions to solve the global warming problem. It is equally important to increase the absorption of greenhouse gases, and here Russia, as well as in a number of other countries, has tremendous potential in terms of the absorbing potential of its forests, the tundra, agricultural lands, seas and swamps.
To achieve full use of this amazing potential, we plan to significantly improve the quality of forest management, increase reforestation areas, expand areas of untouched nature, and introduce new agricultural technologies.
Climate projects in Russia will also create new opportunities for international cooperation for many decades to come, and of course, they will make a significant contribution to global efforts on the climate track.
Overall, we believe that when implementing climate and environmental initiatives, it is important for the G20 to take the lead in drafting uniform, – and I emphasise – fair and, no less importantly, transparent rules for climate regulation. These rules should be based on mutually recognised verification and monitoring methods for greenhouse gas emissions and absorption.
And most importantly, climate change should be addressed in a comprehensive manner, closely linked with steps to promote economic growth and, as my colleagues have already noted, people’s living standards.
Thank you for your attention.