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" "EQUALLY IMPORTANT IS THENEED TO DEVELOPAND SPREAD THEUSE OF GREENTECHNOLOGY THAT THE WHOLEWORLD IS WORKING ON NOW, AND ONWHICH OUR PEOPLE'S HEALTHAND WELLBEINGARE DIRECTLY DEPENDENTt the 25th meeting of the Commission for Modernisation and TechnologicalDevelopment of Russia's Economy, the environment was made a top priorityby President Dmitry Medvedev. His plan includedestablishing a space-based environmental monitoringsystem, developing alternative energy sources andimproving safety systems in nuclear power stations.Not long ago, at the State Council Presidium meetingin Dzerzhinsk we discussed the environmentalproblems that had built up, and the need to addressthem on an ongoing and systematic basis. I issued anumber of instructions following that meeting, some ofwhich are already being carried out now. The draft lawon establishing an environmental monitoring system,for example, has been passed in the first reading now,and the draft law on protecting the seas from oilpollution has been submitted to the State Duma. These legislative efforts have to be completed withoutdelay and in full. Equally important is the need todevelop and spread the use of green technology thatthe whole world is working on now, and on which ourpeople's health and wellbeing are directly dependent.As far as environmental demands are concerned, we have a long way to go yet in changing people'sthinking. Business should not see these demands assomething exotic, or as some kind of "public duty" thatthey carry out only to please the authorities or not rubthe environmentalists the wrong way. To the contrary,these demands are a sure way of making Russian-madegoods more competitive on global markets. Most countries are now working in this direction, theirleaders having long since realised that innovativeproducts must be not just attractive, interesting,ergonomic and cheap, but also environmentally friendly.We, therefore, should look at how to encourage thiskind of activity. In particular, we should look atpossibilities for taxing the creation of environmentallyharmful waste, and using the money raised to supportclean technology and the development of wastecollection and treatment systems. The Government and the regional authorities mustencourage the spread of this kind of technology, and allgoods and services purchased through the publicprocurement programmes must comply with theinternational environmental standards. I will listseveral promising projects that we should concentrateour attention on over the coming months.The first one is the project to establish a space-basedenvironmental monitoring system. Satellites make itpossible not just to receive constantly updatedinformation on the environmental situation, but alsoto track the movements of environmentally dangerouscargo, monitor forests - especially important duringthe summer months - monitor the state of glaciersand monitor the operation of nuclear power stations. Operating satellite systems of these sorts costs quitea lot of money though, and so we have to put in placethe legal and organisational conditions making itpossible to finance this work not just through stateinvestment, as we have been doing over these lastyears, but also attract private investment through themeans of public-private partnerships, also inenvironmental monitoring. Satellites make it possible to see a lot from space,practically anything really, including our big facilitiesand even our waste gas flares. I know that there hasbeen some progress on the gas flare issue, but this isnot enough, and we need to look at what more we canGREENING UP THEECONOMY138G20 MEMBER COUNTRIESDMITRY MEDVEDEV, PRESIDENT, THE RUSSIAN FEDERATIONAPhoto: The Presidential Press and Information Office

G20 MEMBER COUNTRIES139Above: Dmitry Medvedevdo here, including in the matter of processing the gasassociated with oil production.The second project is that of developing green,alternative energy sources. Given that Russia has theworld's largest fossil fuel reserves, this kind of energyaccounts for only a tiny share - less than one per cent- of our total energy production. This puts us a long way behind our European partners.In fact, you could say that we have done nothing reallyso far in this area. Germany, which is one of the mostadvanced countries in this respect, to take oneexample, plans to bring its share of alternative energyup to 35 per cent by the end of the decade.Of course we have huge reserves of traditional energyresources, but this does not mean that we should not betaking active steps to develop and use the potential thatthe alternative energy sources such as wind, solar,geothermal energy offer, as well as other types of energywhich are still being developed or only are at the ideastage. We are not talking about making use of theseenergy sources in industry only, but also developingtheir use in the housing and utility sector too. Let meremind you that coal, oil and gas production and use asenergy sources accounts for almost half of harmfulemissions into the atmosphere today.The third area of work is to carry out pilot projects insome regions to replace local public transport vehicleswith electric vehicles and develop the use of cars withhybrid engines. The pollution levels are already veryhigh in many of our cities, and in summer you canhardly breathe. Using electric or hybrid engines couldmake a real difference here. Just replacing engines onpublic transport vehicles and trucks would cutemissions into the atmosphere by half. Of course,actually doing this is a complicated business, butwhatever it takes, we need to support work in this area.I also want to hear from the Government what has beendone to ensure the deadlines are being met forintroducing environmental regulations for petrolproduction and consumption. I want to say a few words separately on the climatefactor in the economic modernisation. We have theKyoto Protocol, which will soon expire. I think we havenot made a full use of the possibilities it offers. Weshould speed up the selection and approval of therelevant projects. We are losing not just time but also investors who couldpotentially enter the relevant sectors. We need to draftproposals on reinvesting the money obtained fromcarrying out joint initiatives directly into energy-savingand nature protection projects. I also want theGovernment and the Russian Union of Industrialists andEntrepreneurs to assess how well-prepared the Russianexporters are for the European Union countries' alreadyapproved and future decisions, including thoseregarding greenhouse gas emissions.We need to pay particular attention to the nuclearsector too. Russia will continue to develop nuclearenergy, of course, and continue improving the safetysystems at nuclear power stations. We must conductthorough studies into the nuclear waste processingsector too, and work out exactly what the situation withthis waste will be.I would like to conclude by saying one absolutely crucialthing: all the fine and worthy words we speak about theenvironment are worth nothing at all if they are not givena real form and substance of actual state innovation andenvironmental development projects. What is more,they need to have the business community's essentialsupport too. This is our top priority today. nThis is an edited version of President Dmitry Medvedev'sspeech at the 25th Meeting of the Commission forModernisation and Technological Development of Russia'sEconomy, in Gorki, on June 27 2011. For any furtherinformation please visit: www.kremlin.ru