Hearings on Improvement of Ecological Situation in Russia: “Hot Spots” and Priorities of Action
One of the priority themes of the Institute was «ecological hot spots». To state the problem and develop a program of action hearings were held June 23, 2010. The hearing was attended by experts and representatives of all federal districts, including representatives of the Centre for Environmental Policy and Culture and regional public chambers. Held a training seminar for representatives of regional public chambers. Results of work were reviewed at a hearing November 24, 2010, in which representatives of the public, a number of companies and business associations. According to the results of the hearing was an appeal.
Appeal to the President of the Russian Federation, D.A. Medvedev
The country, as well as the whole world, is facing new challenges. They determine the necessity to modernize the economy, including innovative development and the assurance of energy efficiency. We must remember that the essence and directions of modernization depend on its final goal, which is, with all the importance of economic growth, technological state of the art, and competitiveness, the improvement of the living conditions of every person already today and the provision of favorable conditions for future generations. This task is usually defined as securing sustainable development.
Economic growth today means increased pollution and environmental degradation, the depletion of natural resources, the disrupted balance of the biosphere, and climate change, which lead to the deterioration of human health and limit the capacity for further development. These necessitate the modernization of the economy.
The key task of production modernization today is to ensure a double gain – economic efficiency and the reduction of hazardous emissions. This needs strict environmental requirements and economic commitment – modernization must be profitable.
A promising area in solving this problem is transition to a policy of using the «the best technologies available.» This approach has proved itself well in the practice of developed countries. However, as experience has already shown, this transition is very time consuming. Therefore, to start the process of improving the situation already today, a number of urgent measures need to be adopted:
- Adopt a law on payments for negative impacts on the natural environment. Despite the obvious and urgent necessity to adopt this law during the rise and modernization of production, the drafts of the law have been debated for several years.
- Ensure a qualitative monitoring of the status of the environment. Under the modern conditions of weakened environmental monitoring, the assessment of the real picture of environmental pollution and the specification of environmental hot spots is becoming difficult.
- Reject the practice of temporary decisions agreed on discharges and releases. The practice of temporary approvals for emissions above the allowable level that are prolonged year after year is not an incentive for industry to reduce emissions and modernize production; it leads to growing environmental pollution and turns illegitimate any public demands to decrease hazardous impacts.
- Adopt a law on zones of environmental ill-being. Despite the obvious urgency of adopting rehabilitation measures in regions of high pollution, the draft law has been stalled for several years.
- Start the process of eliminating the accumulated environmental damage. The urgency of the problem has been acknowledged by the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources within the framework of international projects, and the problem desperately needs an early solution.
The implementation of these measures will make it possible to start the much-needed process of improving the environmental situation and will stimulate production modernization and its implementation in the right direction.
On our part, we express our readiness for cooperation in the development of a system of measures of public control and its implementation.