8th July 2020 - Business at OECD held Roundtable on Environment and Energy Policies in the Covid-19 Recovery, moderated by Hans-Jörn Weddige Group Coordinator Energy, Climate and Environment Policies thyssenkrupp AG. The Roundtable was dedicated to the development of environmental and energy policy in the COVID-19 Recovery. Participants discussed regional climate and energy priorities and exchanged insides on the post-pandemic recovery policy.
The Roundtable included presentations of the following speakers: Norine Kennedy, Vice President, International Strategic Engagement USCIB, William Garcia, Executive Director HSSE, Responsible Care and Supply Chain CEFIC, Peter Glynn, Advisor Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).
Sergey Mikhnevich, Director of the RSPP Center for Multilateral Cooperation and Eurasian Integration, B20 Russia Sherpa, shared Russian businesses’ vision of the future of energy and the environment and presented contribution of the Russian stakeholders to developing B20 recommendations for the G20 leaders and appropriate policy actions.
“In the sphere of climate change, the Russian government has already introduced the National Action Plan for the First Phase of Adaptation to Climate Change for the period up to 2022.”, - Sergey Mikhnevich said. He underscored that the outbreak of the COVID-19 necessitates significant changes to the current approaches to energy and climate policies: “These amendments are crucial to enable the environment for sustainable development. And the thing I would like to underline is the extreme importance of the well-tuned international cooperation in such multilateral institutions of global governance as the B20”.
The energy and climate are traditional priorities of this engagement group, reflected in recommendations of the B20 to the G20 leaders. This year under Saudi Arabia's presidency they established the task force on energy, sustainable development, and climate. Russian businesses are well represented in this taskforce, accounting for 11% of its members. The President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Dr. Alexander Shokhin was nominated as the co-chair of the task force. The policy paper prepared by the group is structured around four major recommendations. Two of them aimed at moving towards carbon neutrality by joining actions and developing appropriate policy frameworks. The third one focuses on enhancing the climate resilience of infrastructure while the forth recommendation accentuates the sustainable use of water.
Russian businesses actively contributed to developing recommendations and appropriate policy actions. Many ideas and thoughts proposed by our businesses are reflected in the policy paper and can be applied for postCOVID-19 recovery.
- The recovery needs an enormous amount of resources. That means some spheres and sectors will suffer a lack and shortage of finance. So, the policymakers need to bring additional attention to more economical and cost-effective mechanisms. For settling GHG and CO2 emissions issues, nature-based solutions like expanding forests areas should be increasingly applied.
- The policymakers should endeavor to provide an enabling environment and favorable conditions for the implementation of voluntary projects and activities aimed at reducing emissions and increasing GHG removals as a part of the implementation of the Paris Agreement. The implementation of such projects in addition to climate goals contributes to the achievement of other sustainable development goals (economic development, poverty alleviation, ecology, increasing the availability and cleanliness of energy, etc.).
- Different countries and regions vary widely. By introducing strategic policies, the policymakers should take into account national circumstances and cross-sectoral conditions of all stakeholders to solve the most urgent tasks like provision of the universal access to affordable and reliable energy. It is particularly important for countries with special needs, which frequently cannot successfully implement all political measures suitable for more developed partners. E.g. the principle of sovereignty of states and the requirements of differentiated responsibilities is enshrined in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and should be expressed in a set of various effective climate policy mechanisms, based on the principles of reasonable sufficiency and appropriate preparedness.
- The policymakers should advance reasonable, effective, and sustainable use of water and other renewable resources, reducing the negative effects of human activities. It also implies the promotion of various circular business models. For this purpose, the authorities can incentivize investments in high-quality infrastructure and productive capacities with an additional focus on materials with low-carbon footprint and high recyclability rate preserving initial qualities.
- It is vital to align agendas and organize the division of labor of various international cooperation mechanisms. Many institutions today deal with the same energy, climate, and sustainable development issues duplicating the work of other ones. Clear assignment of the responsibility among them will significantly save financial and intellectual resources to successfully address other topical challenges.
Artem Asatur, Co-chair of the Aluminum Association, a member of the B20 Trade and Investment Task Force, calls for the Global Forum on Sustainable Industrial Development's initiative to be included in the OECD agenda. The proposal was made during an exchange of views between members of the BIAC Trade Committee on measures to support the economy in response to COVID-19, along with measures to liberalize trade in green and low-carbon goods.
Asatur noted that excess capacities and global overproduction affect a number of key industries, and lead to excessive pressure on climate and environment. Based on the universally recognized priorities of the UN Sustainable Development Agenda, the proposed intergovernmental dialogue can become a platform for developing unified approaches to the prevention of overproduction and inefficient use of resources.
The participants expressed hope that BIAC will include the proposals in its position papers and promote it in the OECD.