Who Will Become a Green Leader?
Valdai Club Conference Hall (42, Bolshaya Tatarskaya, Moscow)
List of speakers

On January 19, the Valdai Club held an online discussion, titled “Global Green Transformation: How Will the World Change?”, and presented a report of the same name.

The moderator of the discussion, Andrey Sushentsov, Programme Director of the Valdai Discussion Club, said that this topic is especially relevant because of the preponderance of natural disasters in recent years, and given the inability of the world community to come to an agreement on the regulation of environmental issues.

Alexey Shadrin, founder of the Russian Carbon Fund and Evercity, and head of the finance working group at the Climate Chain Coalition, stressed that global actors have realised the reality of the anthropogenic impact on the climate, but now the question is who exactly will become a green leader; who can adapt to new conditions more quickly than others. “The agenda has moved from discussing whether the world is changing, to the fact that the world is changing and we must change,” he said.

Klaus Milke, Chairman of F20, Honorary Chairman of Germanwatch, highlighted the crucial role of Russia in the context of sustainable development and the importance of building trust between Russia and the EU. In his opinion, the green course of action taken by Europe should be accompanied by a deal between Russia and the EU.

Sergey Chestnoy, official representative for external relations at RUSAL, commenting on climate negotiations at the global level, said that he considered their adoption to be quite successful. Difficulties arising in the process, are normal, “regular” development of events.

Evgeny Kuznetsov, CEO of Orbita Capital Partners, agreed with this opinion, but complained about the continuing misunderstanding in Russia of the scale of climate change problems and the green transformation. He also stressed the importance of the impact of local climate initiatives of certain countries. At the moment, according to him, there is not even a dialogue format on such problems. In addition, Kuznetsov raised the issue of energy transition. In his opinion, there are changes on a scale comparable to the transition from steam power to internal combustion engines. A failure to understand this fact could hurt Russia’s export and industrial opportunities, he warned.

Agrafena Kotova, Manager of Carbon Group, Severstal, pointed to a change in the methodological approaches of analysts — the rejection of the business-as-usual scenario and the growing importance of scenarios that are consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Big business is, accordingly, creating offices which deal with climate risks, and declaring goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Angelina Davydova, Director of the Bureau of Environmental Information and an observer at the UN negotiations on climate change, recognised the growing interest towards the climate topic in Russia, both from the state and from business. But she pointed out that there are more words than deeds. Moreover, the actions of the actors do not look entirely consistent.