Arctic Weekly: Carbon Taxation, Rezoning the Far East, and the Arctic Freight

Photo: Konyuchov Nikolai/

Arctic Weekly: Carbon Taxation, Rezoning the Far East, and the Arctic Freight

On 14 July, the European Commission approved a set of proposals aiming to make the EU’s climate, energy, transport and taxation policies fit for reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 as compared to 1990 levels. This entails, inter alia, the introduction of a carbon border tax on metal, fertilizer and energy imports.

The initiative was met with criticism in Russia, as it appears to both discriminate Russian producers and be in breach of the relevant WTO regulations. The environmental logic behind this program is also believed to be questionable, as, in what concerns Russia, it ignores the important contribution made by this country in terms of addressing the challenge of climate change, including in the High North.

And now on to other news.

Far East rezoned. The Far East and Arctic Ministry has introduced a new informal zoning scheme for the Far Eastern Federal District (encompassing, inter alia, some Arctic territories), in order to optimize economic, investment and workforce planning and administration processes. The federal district will be broken down into four provinces, namely, Transbaikal, Border, Insular and Northern ones. Two Arctic regions, Yakutia and Chukotka, along with the subpolar region of Magadan, became part of the Northern province.

Arctic freight. The Russian port authority released data on freight handling at the Arctic ports of Russia. The Russian Arctic ports account for a total of 46.3 million metric tonnes of cargo handled in the first 6 months of 2021, of which 13.4 million tonnes are dry bulk and 32.9 are liquid bulk. The Murmansk sea port handled 27.5, Sabetta 13.9, Varandey 2.3 and Arkhangelsk 1.5 million tonnes of cargo.

Clean Arctic kicked off. The nuclear-powered icebreaker 50 Years of Victory will take Fyodor Konyukhov, a survivalist, traveler and explorer, to the North Pole, where he will establish a research base to gather data on microplastic pollution in the Arctic Ocean and monitor ambient noises produced by ice movement. This is the first event under the Clean Arctic initiative recently announced by the civic society, environmental activists and conservancy groups.

Snowflake project progress. Construction experts contracted by the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, an institution responsible for building and maintaining the Snowflake International Arctic Station in Yamal, have completed the site survey, local authorities say. Currently, the project is reported to have entered the design phase.

Green benefits. The Murmansk region is focused on getting maximum benefit from the transit to a greener economy. As Governor Chibis stated, by 2025, the region, which is to host the first Russia’s carbon-free zone and a hydrogen plant, will produce up to 12,000 tonnes of green hydrogen. This will not only help decrease the impact of local industries on the environment, but also drive foreign investment into the region, the Governor says.

MSW treatment in Arkhangelsk. The Arkhangelsk regional government has presented a draft revised concept for municipal solid waste treatment placing a major emphasis on MSW recycling and introduction of BATs. All 14 incinerators along with 12 out of 19 landfills existing in the region are to be put out of operation as per the concept.

Norilsk to be renovated. A public contest for the best renovation plan for Norilsk kicked off, its idea being to transform Norilsk into a modern, comfortable and welcoming Arctic city by 2035. The renovation effort will be co-funded by Nornickel, the city’s major employer.

Brought to you by Alexander Stotskiy, PORA.
Alexander Stotskiy
19 July 2021
Arctic Weekly