Sep 13, 2021
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Chubais from Vladivostok to Lisbon

On September 2, it became known that the Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for Interaction with International Organizations to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals Anatoly Chubais will lead the Russian group in negotiations with the European Union on the “carbon tax”. Thus, the existence of a common language between the parties to these negotiations is guaranteed in advance. But what will it be about?

The next day, September 3, a well-known, but not everyone’s favorite, super-efficient manager at the Sberbank panel of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok “Is Russia ready for a global ESG transformation?” developed his “June theses” that the transition to new energy technologies and, in general, to the ESG-format of society will determine which countries will form the new world elite of the XXI-XXII centuries, and which will be outsiders, “losers” for a long time and, perhaps, forever. Everything depends on the choice of the leadership of our country today: in favor of traditional energy (disaster) or in favor of “green” and “carbon-free” (new opportunities).

For reference ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) is a method of management, the main goal of which is to solve environmental, social and organizational problems. So far, it is used mainly at the corporate level with the prospects of expanding to the national and international.

The brief meaning of Chubais’s speech boiled down to the fact that gas as a source of energy is bad, although more or less tolerable, oil is very bad, and coal is generally a disaster. In particular, Anatoly Borisovich said that over the past two years a revolution has taken place on the globe, which for some reason has not been noticed in Russia, that is, “overslept.” He also recalled that China, unlike our country, announced the achievement of climate neutrality by 2060 and has already launched the world’s largest climate “carbon” exchange, and at the climate summit on April 22 this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the beginning of strict state control on the coal market – despite the fact that from 2025 the absolute consumption of this energy carrier will begin to decline.

From this, Chubais concluded that the coal strategy adopted by the Russian government for the period up to 2035, largely focused on export deliveries to the Asia-Pacific region and primarily to China, has already failed, it is inoperable and cannot be implemented in the existing situations. We cannot influence the climate policy of China – we can only adequately respond to it. Or, conversely, closing your eyes, build up your speed on the way to the concrete wall. It all sounded overly aggressive, but not very convincing.

For reference. Coal production in Russia in 2020 amounted to 439.2 million tons, of which 104.9 million tons were exported, or almost 24%; import of coal to the PRC with its own production of 3.84 billion tons reached 304 million tons, or less than 8%.

Already from these figures it follows that in the next 40 or even 100 years the “red dragon” will not be able to get away from carbon energy, no matter what “Comrade Xi” says now – of course, with the exception of the option with the total destruction of the Chinese economy, including “Delivery of light and heat” by nuclear and thermonuclear power on rocket carriers. But that’s a completely different story …

In this regard, it is interesting that the interests of Russia in negotiations with the EU on the “carbon tax” have been entrusted to a person who, since the beginning of market reforms and up to the present time, is considered almost “globalist No. 1” in the domestic power vertical, confirming such a status almost every word and action.

Isn’t this a manifestation of some kind of “political behind the looking glass”, in which everything seems not what it really is? After all, the most obvious motive for such an appointment (which also passed through the First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov, and through the deputy prime minister Alexey Overchuk, and through the “right hand” Mikhail Mishustin) is the fact that Anatoly Chubais is a very well-known, authoritative and trustworthy figure of the Russian elite in the West, able to speak with European partners in a language they understand. That is, there will be no long period of “grinding and swinging”, the conversation will go immediately and to the point.

Can you guess what this conversation will be about? Judging by the fresh background outlined above, more or less yes. The special representative of the President of the Russian Federation fully agrees with the “green” and “anti-carbon” rhetoric of the EU. Agree on a very beneficial for him, especially at first, procedure for calculating and paying the “carbon tax”, that is, a cross-border carbon corrective mechanism (CBAM) of the European Commission. Of course, having received for this another portion of the anger of our patriotic community. With one small but: according to the agreements reached, to insure the evergreen and infinitely renewable, the world’s most advanced European energy from sudden “blackouts” will be backward, “dirty”, but trouble-free Russia, with its gas, oil and, terrible to say, peaceful atom. We’d better keep silent about coal … On a scale from Brest to Brest, and maybe to Lisbon.

But after a few years it will somehow turn out by itself that this system (or something else of the same kind) works on a completely different scale and in a completely different mode: for example, from Lisbon to Vladivostok. But bribes from Anatoly Borisovich will be smooth: by that time, with his head held high, he will pass to some Roscarbo, created specifically to optimize carbon fiber, as well as related financial and other flows. So it was, in general, always, and useful traditions need to be valued and protected.

Oleg Shchukin

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