How much does nature cost?

On June 5, Russia celebrates the professional holiday of environmentalists – Ecologists Day. The date is dedicated to World Environment Day (proclaimed by the UN in 1972). talks about how Russia is dealing with environmental protection, how to assess its contribution to the economy and what we need to do with the new environmental challenges.

How does the government deal with the environment?

In Russia, nature conservation is one of the most important issues of state policy, for which there is a special provision in the Constitution:

“Land and other natural resources are used and protected in the Russian Federation as the basis of life and activity of the peoples living in the respective territories.”

Constitution of the Russian Federation, Section 1, Chapter 1, Article 9

The policy documents in the field of environmental protection are the Strategy for Environmental Safety (adopted in 2017) and the Basic Principles of State Policy in the field of environmental development of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2030 (adopted in April 2012). They acknowledge that “the environmental situation in the Russian Federation is characterized by a high level of anthropogenic impact on the natural environment and significant environmental consequences of previous economic activities.”

Global environmental problems directly affect the interests of Russia and its citizens. These are the problems:

  • climate change;
  • biodiversity loss?
  • desertification and other forms of ecosystem loss;
  • increasing environmental damage from natural and man-made disasters;
  • pollution of the air, marine environment, surface and groundwater.

The state programs “Environmental Protection”, “Reproduction and Use of Natural Resources”, “Forest Development” and others should ensure the environmental security of the country.

How much does the state spend on the environment

The conservation of ecosystems and the rational use of natural resources are also the basis for financial security. In 2020, as part of the COVID-19 pandemic, cash receipts from nature use fell to levels five years ago. This was due to the collapse of global demand for fuel, which led to a reduction in Russia’s oil and gas revenues by 51.7%, and taxes on mining – 35.7%.

Government spending on environmental protection is two orders of magnitude lower than nature management revenue. However, from 2008 to 2020, they increased almost 10 times.

Russia’s state revenue from nature management

Russian government spending on environmental protection

How the authorities plan to improve the environment

One of the main documents of the Russian environmental agenda is the state program “Environmental Protection” for the period until 2024. It includes many sub-programs in various fields – from the “Regulation on Environmental Quality” to the “Protection of Lake Baikal” . The Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation is responsible for their implementation.

In 2018, in addition to the already existing program document, the national project “Ecology” was approved, which included 11 federal projects in various sectors. It is designed for a period until 2024, its implementation is personally supervised by the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.

The objectives and key indicators set out in the national project largely replicate the state program “Environmental Protection”. At the same time, the target values ​​of some indicators in the two documents differ.

For example, according to the state program, by 2024, no more than 36 cities with high and very high levels of air pollution should remain in Russia, and according to the national project, not a single one. In addition, the authors of the state program share the terms “protected areas of federal importance” and “federal protected areas”. According to this document, there should be 243 of the former by 2024 and 235 of the latter. The authors of the national project speak only of “SPNA of federal significance”, which, according to their plans, should be 235 the same Date There is a confusion as to the terms.

How “Ecology” lost 100 billion rubles.

Initially, it was planned to spend more than 4 trillion rubles on the 11 federal projects of the national project Ecology, including 3.2 trillion rubles. from private sources, just over 700 billion rubles. from the federal and 116.3 billion rubles. from regional budgets.

In June 2020, the budget of the national project “Ecology” was reduced by 23 billion rubles. – The government redirected them to the Reserve Fund in connection with the pandemic. In September, it was announced that spending would be reduced by another 52.3 billion rubles: in 2021, Ecology would be reduced by 18.9 billion rubles. (14.9%), in 2022 – by 21.8 billion rubles. (14.2%), in 2023 – by 11.6 billion rubles. (7.6%).

The main reduction will be made to the federal project Clean Air – its budget will be reduced by a total of 28.4 billion rubles. (by 65% ​​in 2021, by 60.2% in 2022 and by 10.4% in 2023). 33.2 billion rubles were allocated for Clean Water in 2019-2020. instead of the originally planned by 2024 245 billion rubles. No more than 10% will be “bitten” by most other areas annually.

In addition to the budget cuts, in 2020 there were changes in the structure of the national project. On January 1, 2021, the federal Clean Water project was transferred to the national Housing and Urban Environment project. At the end of December 2020, the federal project “Introduction of the best available technologies” with a budget of 2.4 trillion rubles was declared “early completed”. The activities it included were transferred to the federal projects “Clean Air” and “Improvement of the Volga”.

As a result, the total budget of Ecology was reduced by 100 billion (to 4 trillion rubles) and the number of projects in its composition was reduced to nine. It is planned to allocate 469 billion rubles from the federal budget for this and 295 billion rubles from the consolidated budgets of the regions. The planned amount of extra-budgetary funding has not changed (3.2 trillion rubles).

The most unfulfilled national project

The authorities did not comment on the reasons for the budget cuts, however, at the end of 2019, the auditors of the Chamber of Accounts pointed out problems with the development of funds allocated to Ecology. It turned out to be one of the lowest among all national projects, amounting to just over 62%. In 2020, the situation has not changed: at the beginning of September, spending on Ecology was only 34.3% of the projected level.

However, on December 31, 2021, the return of the box office of Ecology unexpectedly reached 97.7%. According to the Green Dragon telegram channel, as of December 8, only 56.4% of the funds allocated had actually been spent. To get almost 100% results on paper, the Ministry of Natural Resources immediately threw the unallocated part in the reserve.

At the beginning of 2022, the situation did not improve – in January and February, only 1.8% of the funds allocated for the implementation of Ecology during the year were spent: 2.1 billion from 117.1 billion rubles. For example, only 1.2% of the available funds were spent in the “Net Country” – 0.5 billion from 38.6 billion rubles. Clean Air execution is even lower: 0.6%, 0.1 billion spent on the project out of the planned 10.7 billion.

National project “Ecology”

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