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Regular version of the site

Solving Climate Problems Is Not That Expensive And Even Profitable

Fighting climate change requires close international cooperation, but global politics and short-term economic interests still hinder the execution of a joint plan of action. How can this be overcome? Participants of HSE’s international conference ‘The New Economics of Climate: Prospects for Russia’ tried to answer this question.

The leaders of practically all countries admit that climate change is giving rise to serious risks. The high-carbon economic model, upon which global economic growth is still based, will push global warming two degrees above critical levels in this century alone, which might bring about extreme and practically irreversible consequences.

According to the Director of the RAS Water Problems Institute, Viktor Danilov-Danilyan, the threat of surpassing maximum acceptable temperatures is now extremely high. ‘A six-degree rise in temperature will lead to the death of the vast majority of plants and animals. Many believe that Russia is not under threat – a cold climate, 70% of territory as permafrost… But warming is taking place faster in our country than in other places. Natural disasters are becoming more frequent, and they are causing even more damage to nature. Rising sea levels threaten floods, and methane and carbon dioxide compound the matter even worse,’ he said.

Catastrophic climate changes can only be prevented on a global level and in close cooperation with other countries, according to Oleg Pluzhnikov, who is the Deputy Director of the Department of State Regulation of Tariffs, Infrastructure Reforms, and Energy Efficiency at the Russian Economic Development Ministry. But currently, neither the government nor business is interested in this topic. Resolving immediate economic issues like creating jobs, increasing competitive ability, and fighting poverty are turning climate-related issues into second priorities. Decrees, concepts, and doctrines are being passed, but nothing is taking place beyond that. Any sort of dialogue with the U.S. has been interrupted, and separate talks on coordinating climate policy are underway with just a handful of EU countries.

Just a single percent of global GDP is needed in order to lower greenhouse gas emissions…in order to survive

Igor Danilov-Danilyan
Director of the RAS Water Problems Institute

To intensify the fight against climate change, it is necessary to link results with economic gain. According to Dr Alex Bowen, Principal Research Fellow at the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, lowering greenhouse gas emissions will inevitably lead to innovative low-carbon economic growth, and it will create new drivers for the development of global industry as a whole. ‘And this is not that expensive – even profitable since low-coal infrastructure costs are not high at all,’ Dr Bowen notes. ‘Just a single percent of global GDP is needed in order to lower greenhouse gas emissions…in order to survive…’ Viktor Danilov-Danilyan adds. For comparison, 2.5% of global GDP is spent on defence, according to official data. 

 What measures must be taken for Russia to transition into a new low-coal economy? According to Georgy Safonov, who is the Director of HSE’s Centre for Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, it is necessary to stop financing high-coal projects and strategies in urban planning, land usage, and energy, while also subsidizing connection fees, providing low-interest loans to develop low-carbon infrastructure, and strengthening the market’s demand for low-coal technology.

‘It is necessary to more quickly stop producing electricity by burning coal, which pollutes the environment. The construction of coal-fired power plants should be permitted only if there are no alternatives. By 2050, we must stop generating electricity by burning fossil fuels not covered by measures to fight emissions,’ Safonov comments.

Maria Denisova, specially for HSE News Service

See also:

'The Main Focus Is on Providing an Understanding of What the Climate System Is'

HSE Online is launching a new course: Mechanisms of Climate Change. Students will learn not only how to critically assess information in media and differentiate scientific data from conspiracy theories, but also to independently conduct research into the climate system.

The ICEF-CInSt Conference as a Platform for International Research Networking

On November 24–25, 2023, the 12th ICEF-CInSt International Finance Conference took place in Moscow. Researchers from Russia, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the USA, Canada, Italy, and the United Kingdom contributed as speakers and discussants. The organisers and participants of the conference shared their impressions of the event with the HSE News Service.

‘Studying Is an Invaluable Opportunity to Learn from Experts and Explore Diverse Perspectives’

Mateo Rojas Samper, from Colombia, is a student of thePolitics. Economics. Philosophy master’s programme at the HSE University Faculty of Social Sciences. Matteo spoke to the HSE News Service about the importance of engaging in both theory and practice in his studies at HSE University, as well as his participation in the Model United Nations and the Russia–Latin America International Parliamentary Conference.

‘Our Experimental Economics Community Welcomes Everyone from Professors to Bachelor’s Students’

From September 19–27, 2023, the Third Pacific School Conference on Experimental Economics (PSEE) will take place in Vladivostok. The conference has been organised by the HSE UniversityInternational Laboratory for Experimental and Behavioural Economics as part of the Mirror Laboratories project with the Research Laboratory for Modelling Socio-Economic Processes at Far Eastern Federal University. The conference will be held in an in-person format, and foreign participants can take part online.

Central Banks Need to Take Action to Fight Climate Change

Hubert Kempf, Professor of Economics at the Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris - Saclay (France) and Academic Supervisor of HSE International Laboratory for Macroeconomic Analysis (IMLA), will speak about the greening of monetary policy at ameeting of theDiscussion Club on Modern Economic Policy on November 25. In his interview, Professor Kempf spoke about the work of IMLA, the development of macroeconomics, and the role central banks can play in combatting climate change.

Expert Discussions on Climate Change to Take Place at ECOCUP Green Talks 2021

What is happening to nature and the climate? How does it impact the global economy? How are countries going to adapt to these changes? These and other questions will be discussed by experts in a series of discussions as part of ECOCUP Green Talks 2021, a festival of ‘green’ documentaries. The event is organized with support from the HSEFaculty of Geography and Geoinformation Technology in partnership with the Delegation of the European Union to Russia.

HSE University Shapes Global Chain of Foresight

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated our swift adaptation to big challenges and strengthened cooperation ties between researchers, politicians, and entrepreneurs on national and global levels. The accumulated life and goal setting practices in the new reality will be discussed on October 15–26, 2021 by participants of the XI International Academic Conference ‘Foresight and Science, Technology and Innovation Policy’ organised by the Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge (ISSEK).

Conference Brings Together New Perspectives on the Russian Far East

On March 28-31, 2021, the HSE International Laboratory ‘Russia’s Regions in Historical Perspective’ held an international conference ‘The Russian Far East: Regional and Transnational Perspectives (19th -21st cent.)’. The event was jointly organized by the Laboratory with the German Historical Institute Moscow, Indiana University Bloomington (USA), and the Institute of History, Archeology and Ethnography of the Peoples of the Far East FEB RAS (Vladivostok).

Neurotechnology: The Decline of Freedom or New Horizons for Human Development?

On March 18, HSE University will host the international Neurotechnology & Freedom Conference, which will be held online. In an exchange with HSE News Service, Vasily Klucharev, director of the Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience and tenured professor at HSE University, discussed what views on the compatibility of these two concepts exist in modern science and art.

Global Restructuring: The World Community Prepares to Fight Climate Change

More than a hundred countries have already declared the achievement of ‘zero emissions with the exception of absorption’ to be their primary goal in the fight against climate change. For Russia, whose primary export is fossil fuels, the global rejection of hydrocarbons poses great risks. Experts discussed the issue at the research seminar, ‘Decarbonization as a Global Trend: Changing the Economic Landscape and Its Importance for Companies’, which was jointly organized by HSE University and the Association of European Businesses.