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Vladimir Litvinenko: “Russia must become a World Center for minimizing the man-made impact on Nature”

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Another climate summit was held in Egypt, at the end of which an agreement was signed to increase the use of "low-emission energy." No concrete agreements were reached; moreover, many conference participants expressed disappointment with the destructive position of the "rich countries," and the lack of real action on their part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The African and Asian delegates were particularly irritated when European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the final declaration "is just a small step on the road to climate justice." They were reasonable to ask what is meant by "justice" for the EU, which has promised to allocate 100 billion euros annually from 2020 to combat climate change around the world. Such as floods and drought, for example. Not a penny of these funds has reached developing nations, while Europe itself "continues to do as much damage to the planet as it pleases."

"Africa has created its own climate risk fund, capitalized at $14 billion. This sends a wake-up call to a world frustrated by the empty commitments of rich countries... Their message at the UN climate conference was very clear: it is up to the drowning men to save the drowning men. Africa heard it and drew conclusions... Asia, too, must take note. Especially Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Thailand and Nepal, who are most threatened by the effects of climate change," Aljazeera wrote.


Equally indignant is the double interpretation of environmental standards on the part of the European Commissioners. They are genuinely proud of their successes on the road to the "energy transition," which include the allocation of unfunded funds for the construction of wind farms and solar farms (which is one of the causes of global inflation). At the same time, over the past two years the consumption of coal - the most environmentally harmful resource - has increased in the EU by almost 20%. In other words, the volume of greenhouse gas emissions from the territory of the European Union has obviously increased. Why, then, does Brussels still see itself as the engine driving the entire global community toward a happy carbon-free future?

Representatives of developing countries have been asking similar questions more and more often lately. And their frustration at the lack of effect of the current decarbonization platforms is growing. But can anyone in the world take over from the West and offer a realistic program to minimize the anthropogenic impact on the environment on a global scale? No matter how strange it may seem at first glance, but Russia is perfectly capable of taking on this role.

Our country is one of the few in the world that is not increasing its consumption of coal. It is at a stable level of a little over 200 million tons, which is almost 3.5 times less than in the EU. In parallel, the process of social gasification of households is going on, within which almost 25 thousand kilometers of inter-settlement gas pipelines will be built and conditions for connecting 4 million new consumers will be created by 2025. New nuclear power plant units, solar power plants, primarily in the regions with the maximum number of clear days, as well as wind farms are being built. Last year alone, 13 wind farms were commissioned in southern Russia.

солнечная панель
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"We initially had a divergence of views with the European Union as to what strategy in reducing emissions would maximize efficiency. Europe emphasized the development of renewable sources - wind turbines and solar panels. But given their high consumption of materials, low utilization rate of installed capacity, instability of electricity generation, which depends on the vagaries of the weather, and lack of available technologies for storing the energy they generate, we pointed out that RES can only be used in the foreseeable future in combination with fossil fuels. First of all, natural gas, because it can provide peak loads to the grid, i.e. guarantee energy security, and at the same time minimize the negative impact on nature. Today, we see the result of our European partners' stubbornness: doubled electricity bills for households, bankruptcy of enterprises unable to pay the bills, heat deficit and increased greenhouse gas emissions due to increased coal burning in thermal power plants," says Vladimir Litvinenko, leading expert in the energy sector and Rector of the St. Petersburg Mining University.

We are not the only ones who see this, but representatives of many other countries as well. That is why the International Forum "Environmental Management and Conservation of World Natural Heritage", which will open in the city on the Neva River on December 2, will be attended by delegates from 70 countries. Their aim is to exchange experience in implementing technologies minimizing man-made impact on the environment and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as to develop solutions to consolidate the efforts of the international community in this direction.

"Russia is still open for integration into the international scientific and educational community. Moreover our country can become one of the centers of attraction for politicians, scientists and businessmen from all over the world, who seek to minimize the negative impact on ecosystems not in words, but in deeds. This is not only about introducing technologies to capture greenhouse gases, but also about reclaiming land, purifying water, and recycling industrial waste. Our scientists pay increased attention to this kind of research, and we are certainly ready to share our experience with our foreign colleagues," said Vladimir Litvinenko.

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The forthcoming forum, which will be held at Russia's oldest technical university, in the congress hall of the Gorny's MFK, is only a small step on the way to acquiring this status. It is much more important to finally put an end to the vestiges of the neoliberal economic model, imposed on us by the West in the 90s. Both the events of thirty years ago, which took place in our country, and the current European crisis clearly show that it is only beneficial to a small group of beneficiaries, and does not take into account the interests of the bulk of the population.

According to the rector, it should be replaced by a mobilization model of development of the national economy. Among other things, it will sharply increase the role of state regulation in the cornerstone industries of our country, primarily in the mineral and raw material sector.

"Society perceives the term 'mobilization economy' negatively, this is no secret. But it happens exclusively because of negative associations with the infringement of various rights and freedoms. Many believe that achieving the cornerstone goal, which is the preservation of statehood, will become a brake on other objectives, such as the progress of small and medium entrepreneurship. In fact this is not the case. Under no circumstances should the state play the role of employer and participate in production processes; this is a function of business. The only issue is to develop transparent and advantageous to all market players standards and requirements, and supervise their proper implementation," explained Vladimir Litvinenko.

He gave an example of mining or oil and gas companies, which today make most of their profits from the export of raw materials, and therefore do not show the appropriate level of interest in the development of processing facilities in the country. In the case of transition to a mobilization model of development, the state will have the opportunity to set them clear objectives concerning, for example, the volume of production and share of minerals that must be involved in deep processing and subsequent production of final consumption products.

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"It is no secret that most of the states with a rich resource base today monetize no more than 20% of the real value of the minerals extracted in their subsoil. This is at best. Those developing countries where Western transatlantic corporations operate under concession agreements cannot even boast of this figure. The rest goes to importers engaged in processing and production of high-margin goods. It is obvious that this distribution of income is unfair, it does not take into account the interests of the population of those countries that supply mineral resources to the world markets, including the interests of the residents of our country. And the roots of this state of affairs go back to the epoch of colonialism when the most developed powers at that time, possessing progressive fleets, got rich by expropriating resources in Africa, Asia, and America," says Vladimir Litvinenko.

The main danger that awaits Russia on the way to retaining its status as one of the centers of a multipolar world is, of course, technological backwardness. Especially in industries such as mechanical engineering and oil refining. If it is not overcome, the likelihood of the country returning to the 1990s and turning into a Western colony, whose mission is only to provide post-industrial countries with cheap resources, will be very high.

In order to avoid such a development, the government must, first of all, motivate scientists. And not only financially, but also by setting specific tasks and creating conditions for cooperation with industrial enterprises. It is the increase in the level of state regulation that will allow us to achieve this goal, as well as to eliminate the shortage of competent engineering personnel, ensure sufficient growth of mineral reserves for sustainable development and promote the creation of technological chains that begin with the extraction of raw materials and end with the production of final consumption goods, which stimulates domestic demand.

The transition to a mobilization economic model is no less important for minimizing the anthropogenic impact on nature. The state must develop such criteria, which, on the one hand, will allow subsoil users to conduct profitable business, and on the other, will make the implementation of the best available technologies a prerequisite of this business. Liberal ideology, unfortunately, does not impose such requirements on companies. And the man-made accidents that have occurred in recent years in different regions of the world, and in our country, too, are more proof of this.