16 March 2021 - Stakeholder national workshops

The role of electricity, manufacturing, and forests in Russia’s low-carbon transition

On March 16, 2021, the PARIS REINFORCE project held its virtual national workshop focusing upon Russia. The goal for the workshop was to receive insights from local stakeholders into the public policy context as well as a better understanding of some of the key assumptions modelling groups must make to build relevant mitigation pathways for the country.

To this end, a range of stakeholders were invited from NGOs, academia, business, and government. On the day, more than 100 stakeholders actively participated, providing feedback on the development of effective and realistic measures in the Russian national context to mitigate climate change.

The workshop began with a brief introduction from project coordinator, Assoc. Prof. Haris Doukas (National Technical University of Athens) (presentation). Then, during the first session of the workshop, Dr. Alexandre Koberle (Grantham Institute, Imperial College London) presented preliminary insights from the global modelling activities of the project and elaborated on the low-carbon development of Russia by delving into the current status of the country, its NDC pledges, as well as an estimation of where Russia is headed based on the “where we are headed” scenario logic of PARIS REINFORCE (presentation). Following this, Dr. Alexander Shirov and Dr. Andrey Kolpakov (IEF-RAS) introduced the model system of IEF RAS dedicated to modelling the low-carbon development of Russia (presentation). The presentation particularly examined the potential for mitigating GHG emissions in the country, as well as the long-term national mitigation scenarios currently being explored alongside their impact on emissions reduction, economic dynamics, energy efficiency, and investments. Emphasis was placed on the importance of the carbon sink potential from the Russian forests, which is currently underexplored in the established scenarios. Both presentations placed emphasis on the help that stakeholders can provide by allowing for more politically and contextually relevant policies and assumptions to define scenarios.

Participants were then split into three breakout groups, to allow for more detailed discussion with stakeholders themselves. The three topics for discussion were:

  • Perspectives on the structure of electricity generation in Russia.
  • Ways to decarbonise the manufacturing sector of the Russian economy, including businesses exporting goods to the EU.
  • Carbon sequestration potential of Russian forests and ways to maximise it.

Some of the main topics discussed in session on the power sector (here and here) revolved around the electricity mix and emission intensity, with emphasis on the role of nuclear energy, natural gas-based generation and renewable energy considering different policy scenarios like carbon regulation measures, direct limits on CO2 emissions and carbon prices. Discussions focused on the economic and financial evaluation of each technology, with cost-effectiveness being expected to influence the diffusion levels of each technology in decarbonisation plans.

In the manufacturing sector session (here and here), main topics discussed included among others the activities Russian businesses have implemented in the past to reduce emissions, as well as future plans and how these plans are expected to affect the competitiveness of Russian companies. Key part of the discussion orbited toward opportunities and threats of the manufacturing sector brought from the climate agenda including the possible expenses from the introduction of a carbon border adjustment mechanism.

Hot topics in the forests session (here and here) included how to assess and maximise the carbon sequestration potential of Russian forests. Different estimations of the Russian forest carbon budget and ways to improve them were discussed, as well as strategies to maximise the carbon sequestration potential by improving the control for forest disturbances, forest management techniques, and by promoting forest conservation projects.

Finally, an interactive sli.do voting session, managed by Mr. Ben McWilliams (Bruegel) allowed participants to give their feedback on the level of emission targets they consider to be realistic and ambitious, their estimations on the rate of GDP energy and carbon intensity improvement, the shares of key low-carbon technologies in the future, the level of carbon sinks, as well as their evaluation of key restrictions that could slow down the low-carbon transition of the country. Key outputs from the session will be used to better design realistic decarbonisation scenarios for the region.