The leaders of Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia spoke in a coordinated fashion during the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum in favour of developing environmentally clean technologies in terms of both traditional and new energy sources.
Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that Russia was undertaking vital efforts to maintain a leading role in the energy of the future, rooted in the fight against climate change.
“We are not only following what is happening in the world in these matters, we are also making all the necessary efforts so as not to be left behind at the tail end of events,” Putin told the event in the city of Vladivostok. “On the contrary, we want to maintain our overall leading position, particularly in the energy of the future.”
It was important on the one hand, the president said, for Russia to press on with its work on environmentally clean traditional forms of energy, like nuclear power or hydropower.
“In what way does nuclear power affect emissions? No effect at all. But some of our colleagues in partner-countries propose taking no account of the possibilities of nuclear power in their calculations linked to environmental well-being,” he said.
“It is the same with hydropower. And for us, nuclear and hydro make up nearly 40 % of the energy balance. We therefore have to keep close watch on technological developments.”
At the same time, the president said, Russia must take note of new technologies in production of hydrogen – both “blue” hydrogen produced from methane reforming and “green” hydrogen produced through the electrolysis of water based on renewable energy sources.
In his discussion with the head of the Global Energy Association, Sergey Brilev, the moderator of the plenary session, Putin said: “You said green hydrogen was six times more expensive (than blue hydrogen). But tomorrow it may well be less expensive, one-sixth the price. We have to observe this closely.”
It was also important, he said, to stay clear of any politicisation of the climate agenda and of moves serving the interest of individual countries acting in violation of the norms of the World Trade Organization.
“Naturally, it is in our interest to pursue joint work in preserving nature and taking steps aimed at preventing catastrophic climate change. But we cannot agree with proposed rules which are clearly in contradiction with WTO norms,” Putin said. “We are therefore closely following these discussions and will work with our partners in all regions of the world, including with the European Union.”
Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev supported the elaboration of a consolidated position on climate issues and the introduction of new technologies, including traditional forms of energy which allow for reductions in CO2 emissions.
“Yes, thank goodness, we have traditional energy sources – oil, gas, coal, but a global transformation appears to be underway. I agree that it is possible and necessary to question the extent to which different types of international taxes are in accord with the rules of the WTO,” he told the session.
“And here, we could well come up with a consolidated position on how to cooperate closely on a plan to transform our economies.”
“I believe that Kazakhstan has devised quite a rational strategy – a transition to carbon neutrality by 2060. That is a sufficient frame in order to retool all the necessary equipment and move towards new technologies. What will be in 30 years – only the Almighty knows. But God helps those who help themselves. So we have a great deal of hard work ahead.”
Against this background, Tokayev said, Kazakhstan is prepared to study the possibility of building a nuclear power station in the country.
The President of Mongolia, Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh, said his country was making its contribution to the development of green energy by acting as a proposed transit route from Russia to China for the cleanest form of energy – natural gas.
“The gas pipeline linking Russia and China, which will pass through Mongolia’s territory, is a megaproject for all three countries,” he told a panel at the forum.
“Research work is now proceeding. We are working on the creation of an economic corridor which will make its contribution to the green development of our countries. This gas pipeline is a big opportunity for our country to join in the process of gas supply and make an important contribution to the reduction of our country’s greenhouse gases and improve its economic situation.”
Mongolia, he said, also planned to develop renewable energy sources.
“The development of the renewable power sector is a priority for our country, We have every opportunity here – great potential to develop wind and solar power,” he said. “We are planning by 2025 to increase the level of renewables to 20 % of overall energy output. And by 2030, we will bring that level to 30 %. Mongolia accounts for only 0.1 % of world-wide greenhouse gas emissions, but we are nonetheless paying considerable attention to this matter.”