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Sanctioned tycoon says Russia desires to interact on local weather

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SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt — A Russian billionaire below sanctions by the United States and Europe over his alleged ties to the Kremlin says he was not stunned by protests in opposition to his nation at this yr’s U.N. local weather talks, however insists that Russia desires to stay engaged on the problem of worldwide warming as a result of it deeply impacts the nation.

Andrey Melnichenko, who heads the local weather coverage panel of Russian enterprise foyer group RSPP, advised The Associated Press that “regardless of the very terrible moment which we all experience now we will participate, we will observe” on the assembly in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Pro-Ukraine activists disrupted the beginning of an occasion hosted by the Russian delegation on the local weather talks Tuesday earlier than being escorted out by safety employees.

“I wasn’t surprised,” mentioned Melnichenko, who was talking on the panel alongside Russian delegates. “What’s so surprising? That there are people who are deeply concerned about what’s happening in Ukraine and want to make their opinion known?”

“I completely 100% understand that,” he mentioned.

His feedback, whereas in a roundabout way crucial of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, point out a extra nuanced view of the bloody battle than the official Kremlin line, which describes the warfare as a “special military operation.”

Since late February the warfare has devastated Ukraine, with bombs and shelling decimating cities and cities and killing hundreds.

The warfare has resulted in a raft of sanctions being imposed on Russian officers and outstanding businesspeople linked to the Kremlin.

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Melnichenko — who now lives in Dubai — criticized Western sanctions on Russia, which he mentioned had been utilized with out regard for potential penalties, such because the impact restrictions on fertilizer exports would have on international meals costs and Russia’s efforts to chop greenhouse fuel emissions. Russia is the world’s largest exporter of fertilizers.

“Sanctions were put like a blanket on the Russian economy,” mentioned Melnichenko, who as soon as ran the fertilizer producer Eurochem and SUEK, one the the world’s largest coal firms. “It affects everything. Take for example food and fertilizer supply.”

He claimed the sanctions had affected meals provide for “hundreds of millions” of individuals worldwide.

“Of course, this decision affects Russia’s possibility to move faster on the way of the decarbonization of its economy,” added Melnichenko.

Russian contributors on the local weather talks in Egypt had been notably centered on efforts to cut back emissions and reliance on fossil fuels, and the foundations for worldwide carbon markets and carbon offsets — a problem the place Russia believes it has nice potential on account of its large forests.

Melnichenko mentioned that Russia will proceed to export fossil fuels to meet demand, and it ought to be left to markets to determine that are probably the most aggressive. Russia is a high exporter of oil and pure fuel though it has confronted sanctions from EU buying and selling companions. Other international locations, like India and China, proceed to import Russian oil.

“I believe that Russia’s fossil fuel production (is) very competitive globally in terms of the total cost, externalities included,” he mentioned. “That’s why Russia will be able for a reasonably long period of time, a very long period of time, to maintain quite (a) big share of the fossil fuel market and … benefit from it also.”

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Melnichenko, who based on Forbes is value some $23.5 billion, mentioned the world group ought to pay extra consideration to the massive share of greenhouse fuel emissions that aren’t attributable to human exercise, akin to respiration, decomposition and even volcanoes. Scientists say the worldwide warming measured in current many years is especially attributable to the large-scale burning of fossil fuels since industrialization.

Asked what function issues about local weather change play in Russian civil society, he mentioned that environmental points had turn into extra outstanding in larger cities over the previous six to seven years

Peaceful protests on the problem had been potential, he insisted. “And the government really responds.”

“That’s one of the area where you can have freedom of expression,” he mentioned. “And that’s understandable because it’s pretty safe in terms of the political environment.”

Follow AP’s local weather and setting protection at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment

Associated Press local weather and environmental protection receives help from a number of personal foundations. See extra about AP’s local weather initiative right here. The AP is solely accountable for all content material.

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