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COP26: when there is no agreement between comrades

04 November 2021

Gromov Alexey I. Principal Director on Energy Studies, Head of the Energy Department
Тема: Energy

Alexey Gromov, Principal Director on Energy Studies of the Institute for Energy and Finance, commented to Oilcapital.ru, whether it is worth waiting for revolutionary declarations following the 26th UN Climate Change Conference.

The worst moment to host a climate conference advocating the elimination of fossil fuels could hardly have been imagined. Interruptions in fuel and energy supplies, high energy prices, hysteria in world markets - all this is “here and now”. But the "climatic apocalypse" of scientists is still a question of the future, to which one still needs to live. True, UN meteorologists during the summit reported that the planet began to heat up even faster, and the current 2021 will be one of the hottest in 170 years of observations. Therefore, the Paris Agreement is no longer enough. New commitments are needed, and that's the problem with them. The Glasgow summit showed that many countries are not ready to recklessly step up their efforts to achieve carbon neutrality, as this can lead to serious social and economic failures.

Alexey Gromov believes that the bad moment predetermined the general tone of discussions in Glasgow.

“The Glasgow Climate Summit is being held in difficult conditions against the backdrop of the global energy crisis. In this regard, many countries are cautious about additional commitments to achieve carbon neutrality. Much attention is paid to the fact that it is necessary to look for balanced solutions: to meet climatic goals, but not to forget about energy security - to exclude a shortage of energy resources and price volatility,” the expert comments.

Well, in the meantime, the past meeting of world leaders has rather contributed not to the unification of opinions, but to their polarization. “During the summit, two camps were clearly formed: adherents of an active energy transition (European Union, Great Britain, USA) and supporters of a more rational approach (China, India, partly Russia),” Alexey Gromov says.

Commenting on the views of the "rationalists", the expert notes their consistency: "China, despite all the climate declarations, takes a moderate position. This is not surprising, since the energy crisis in the country is not dying out. Moreover, China still relies on coal-fired generation. At the Summit no any announcements were declared by the PRC that coal consumption would be limited. For China, the top priority is energy security and avoiding threats to economic development. The same can be said for India. The country makes conservative estimates and announces plans for carbon neutrality by 2070. India is in an earlier stage of energy transition. And there are great systemic difficulties in the immediate and abrupt abandonment of hydrocarbon and coal generation.

As for Russia, Vladimir Putin noted at the G20 summit that Russia is already in a relatively advantageous position, but not in terms of absolute CO2 emissions, but in terms of the ratio of emissions and their absorption. Russia declares carbon neutrality by 2060 and says that the volumes of emissions that will still be produced will be compensated technologically and with the help of a natural factor”.

“There is no need to assume that revolutionary declarations will be made public at the 26th UN Climate Conference,” Alexey Gromov is sure. - Many expected a new version of the Paris Agreement. I think a common declaration will be adopted in the most vague form, which will determine that countries as a whole will step up efforts to achieve carbon neutrality. "

Gromov Alexey I. Principal Director on Energy Studies, Head of the Energy Department
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