Siberian Federal University: Carbon grounds are discussed at KEF

Carbon grounds are discussed at KEF
The Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum has discussed the creation of carbon polygons in Eastern Siberia to monitor Russian carbon balance. The round table was organized by Siberian Federal University.

The discussion concerned such issues as the role of Russian forests and permafrost ecosystems in regulating the carbon balance subject to the introduction of a transboundary tax on the so-called carbon footprint, promising formats of cooperation between the state, science and business to meet the global post-carbon agenda for Russia, the integration of the existing network of carbon dynamics monitoring in a program for carbon grounds.

Ivan Sovetnikov, deputy head of the Federal Forestry Agency, opened the discussion by expressing gratitude to the organizers of the forum who addressed this “really hot topic” and emphasized their readiness to “maximally support the development of the widest possible network of carbon grounds and research in this area”.

Vladimir Lukin, director of the Corporate Governance and Sustainable Development Group of KPMG in Russia and the CIS, made a presentation on the consequences of the introduction of cross-border carbon regulation in the European Union: “The main EU instrument for carbon regulation is quotas. But as ambitions grow and decarbonization measures intensify, so does the impact on carbon-intensive producers. We face the so-called process of carbon leakage when production simply flows to countries with a less stringent regulatory system, which in fact leads to an increase in emissions”.

Alexander Krenke, researcher at the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences, raised the issue of the multiplicity of assessment methods and the complexity of creating an ideal model: “The problem with existing models is that they are based, as a rule, on outdated or incomplete data. For correct accounting of the carbon balance, we need 100, and ideally, 500 ecosystem observation points, whereas now there are only 11 of them on the territory of Russia”.

The position of Siberian Federal University was represented by the scientific director of the university, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Eugene Vaganov.

“For Russia, as a major exporter of products to the EU, an important element of carbon policy is becoming an accurate knowledge about the carbon-absorbing capacity of terrestrial vegetation: forests, steppes, swamps, agricultural land. A scientifically substantiated assessment of the ability of natural ecosystems in Russia to bind a significant amount of carbon dioxide emitted by industrial enterprises will allow Russian business to reduce the carbon footprint of their products due to market conditions,” noted Eugene Vaganov. “The forest area of Krasnoyarsk Territory is 106.7 million hectares. According to the national greenhouse gas inventory, the forests of Krasnoyarsk Territory absorb 53.9 million tons of CO2-equivalent annually. This makes it possible to compensate the greenhouse gas emissions of the region’s enterprises with a safety margin. Refinement of data on carbon sequestration in forest and wetland ecosystems along with sustainable forest management will significantly increase the carbon budget of the region and Russia as a whole, as well as provide carbon support to other regions of the Russian Federation or neighbouring states”.

Concluding the discussion, deputy chairman of the Government of Krasnoyarsk Territory Anatoly Tsykalov drew the attention of the audience to the fact that now we are imposed the idea that carbon sequestration in a harsh climate is extremely slow, and therefore Russia should abandon deforestation even for the purpose of developing arable land, should not allow fires and, as a result, focus on imports.

“I believe it is high time to develop adequate methods for calculating the carbon balance. The emergence of a climatic REC in Krasnoyarsk Territory and the inclusion of Krasnoyarsk Territory in the number of pilot test sites will make it possible to obtain model scenarios for all types of natural and anthropogenically disturbed ecosystems of the Asian part of Russia. As a result, there will be techniques for measuring carbon balance in typical environments: from large industrial sites to forests, the Arctic zone and urban areas. These competencies and technologies are now in great demand by the economy of our region”.