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31 Oct, 2021 14:11

'Eco conscious' EU outsourcing hidden cost of renewables drive to developing nations & taxing them for it - Russian security chief

'Eco conscious' EU outsourcing hidden cost of renewables drive to developing nations & taxing them for it - Russian security chief

‘Green’ technologies promoted by Western politicians carry hidden environmental costs which are being outsourced to developing nations and then used to apply pressure on their economies, Russia's top security official has claimed.

Nikolai Patrushev, who heads Russia's National Security Council, said, on Sunday, that rich countries that advocate a fast transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewables to combat climate change are at the same time using the pretext of carbon footprints to undermine developing economies.

He was referring to the EU's plans to tax imported products based on the estimated greenhouse gas emissions created during their manufacturing. The policy will be phased in between 2023 and 2026, according to the European Commission's timeline. Russia is expected to lose at least 1.1 billion euros ($1.27 billion) annually once the border levy is fully implemented.

According to Patrushev, the tax is rather hypocritical, considering that it would apply to products from the very countries that carry the hidden costs of the bloc's transition to renewables.

“The manufacturing process of solar panels, the extraction of rare metals required for their production, are quite energy-consuming and are mostly based in nations that use coal power plants,” Patrushev explained to Moscow daily Komsomolskaya Pravda. 

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The same is true for batteries, which are required for electric cars and to buffer changes of output from solar panels and wind generators, the former FSB chief added. There is also the issue of waste like broken panels and turbine blades, which rich operators tend to ship out to poor nations with less stringent environmental rules. 

“Europe not only outsources ‘dirty’ production, but also plans to slap the so-called ‘carbon tax’ on those producers,” Patrushev said of the planned levy. He called it an example of “Western meddling” in affairs of other nations under the guise of fighting climate change.

“Maybe some future conference on climate change and global warming should be held in an African or Asian nation, where the ‘dirty’ production of those ‘clean’ technologies is done,” he suggested.

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Russia supports a global transition to more environment-friendly technologies that are necessary to mitigate the threat of climate change, the Russian official said. But it should be done in a way that doesn't undermine individual nations or result in crises, like the one that is affecting Europe at the moment. European nations are experiencing a significant surge in prices of natural gas due to a shortage, which was caused, among other factors, by lower-than-expected electricity generation by renewable sources.

“It's obvious that moving away from fossils in favor of renewables can only be done at a measured pace,” he said. “All the talk about an imminent radical abandonment of traditional energy sources is highly exaggerated.”

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