Russia has finally signed the Paris agreement on climate change. Back in August, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that working within the framework of the agreement will require a "significant reconstruction" of Russian economy, even though the country is meeting the standards for emissions reduction vs. 1990 with a large margin.
For example, total greenhouse gas emissions in Russia decreased by 32% in 2003 and by as much as 45.8% (2132.5 million tons of CO2 – or carbon dioxide – equivalent) in 2015. The energy sector accounts for the bulk of greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, it is not surprising that the fuel and energy industries took Russia's entry into the Paris agreement without enthusiasm.
Experts are already predicting a possible introduction of carbon customs duties, which will impede access to markets for goods produced with the aid of "dirty" technologies. The Russian government will have to take this possibility into account when designing a long-term strategy for low-carbon development. In addition to it, the odds are that in ten to fifteen years the European countries will switch over to broad introduction of renewable energy sources, thus reducing the world’s demand for oil and coal. Quite naturally, this prospect doesn’t encourage the Russian oligarchs, whose empires are built on the production of hydrocarbons. However, it is high time to rein in some companies that have passed all bounds. For instance, you are unlikely to find at least one coalmining company working without environmental violations in Russia.
Take the JSC Siberian Coal Energy Company, one of the largest coal producers that is run by oligarch Andrei Melnichenko. Environmental inspectors caught it Murmansk seaport (MCS) discharging sewage into the Kola Bay of the Barents Sea. The stuff floated there without any cleaning at all. It is not ruled out the company's laboratory had been operating without accreditation, although the MCS assured that the composition of the drains was under strict control.
Melnichenko’s coalmining firm SUEK-Kuzbass also did not bother to clean wastewaters and just poured them into the river Inya. In addition, the company did not monitor the state of the environment at all. Really, why get upset? It goes without saying that, given this kind of work, the environmental situation is not great. SUEK-Krasnoyarsk company dumped untreated quarry-drainage water into the river Barga, while dust collectors at Berezovsky surface mine had been running in dry mode.
Or else, take JSC HC SDS-Ugol (the Siberian business Union controlled by Vladimir Gridin who is on Forbes list), which operates in the Kemerovo region and the Altai territory. Kemerovo-based inspectors of Rosprirodnadzor environmental watchdog caught the holding company Chernigovets emitting all sorts of muck into the atmosphere without whatever permits. Maiskoye Shakhtoupravleniye Ltd. was caught in the act of releasing poisonous wastewater from the sump pond. One more outlet, Listvyazhnaya Coalmine, had disparity between the volumes of output and license terms.
But one of the most high-profile defendants in environmental cases was oligarch Dmitry Bosov, a Forbes list denizen and a longtime business partner of the arrested ex-minister Mikhail Abyzov. As a rule, he treated the environment with a high degree of tentativeness in his commercial projects and drew close attention of the supervisory authorities.
Moreover, on the tip from Bosov and with the help of Deputy Minister of natural resources Vladimir Loginov, who helped with obtaining the order, there was almost a threefold reduction in the conservation area of Medusa Bay in the Great Arctic State Nature Reserve. This unsealed Pandora's Box, the contents of which will be making themselves manifest once and again quite graphically.
Almost every company affiliated with the oligarch, tainted nature in one way or another in the pursuit of profits. A network of companies is very wide, since Dmitry Bosov is the founder and head of the Board of Directors of the group ALLTEK with the assets including Sibantratsit and Vostokugol mining companies.
Through LLC ALLTEK, Mr. Bosov owns JSC Indigapetrolium whose management was caught several times by environmental inspections in the Irkutsk region violating of license terms for subsoil development in Cheremkhovsky area where the company decided to extract gold. In addition, Indigapetrolium "forgets" to make lease payments under the lease of land, and the Ministry of Finance of the Irkutsk region regularly have to squeeze out these debts in the courtroom. By April of this year, the company had accumulated debts under two land lease agreements-91-206 / 13 and 91-345 / 11.
Only the lazy ones would not find violations in the Moscow-based CJSC YAUZA REALTY (ALLTEK owns the management company ARTPLAY), and the officials of the Ministry for Emergency Situations were the most industrious in this regard. Their record was 47 violations in one stint in buildings on the Nizhnyaya Syromyatnicheskya street, 10. In addition, the company turned out to use a land plot in Moscow for purposes that were not related to its designation.
Through Vostokugol, Bosov owns the company Port Vera Management (LLC Port Vera holding has another 50% in it), which is building the port Vera -- a coal sea terminal with a turnover of 20.0 million tons per year in the area of Cape Otkryty in the Far East of Russia. Rostekhnadzor easily found a dozen violations during the inspection of construction at LLC Razrez Vostochny, where production was totally unlicensed from February 2017 to May 2018.
Bosov's coal enterprises are probably one of the hardest in terms of the operations-to-environment ratio.