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EU’s Timmermans to visit Russia on climate action ahead of COP26 – Metro US

EU’s Timmermans to visit Russia on climate action ahead of COP26

FILE PHOTO: EU Commission presents ‘Fit for 55’ package to
FILE PHOTO: EU Commission presents ‘Fit for 55’ package to the EU Parliament, in Strasbourg

MILAN (Reuters) – European Commissioner for Climate Action Frans Timmermans said he would visit Russia in the next few weeks to discuss climate action ahead of the U.N. COP26 summit in Glasgow.

Russia, one of the world’s bigger oil and gas producers, is coming under increased pressure to set a “net zero” emissions target before the conference which runs from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12.

“When you talk to them they always have conditionalities and questions but they want to be part of the success of this,” Timmermans told Reuters on the sidelines of a Pre-COP 26 climate meeting in Italy.

“They have a lot to lose … decarbonising their economy is challenging, but certainly not impossible.”

Russia has said it will cut its 2030 emissions to 70% of 1990 levels, a target it is expected to achieve because of de-industrialisation since the Soviet Union broke up in 1991.

Timmermans gave no more details on who he was due to meet during his trip to Moscow, but said he was more positive now than a few weeks ago on achieving success at the climate talks in Scotland since high emission countries such as Russia, China and Saudi Arabia were sending encouraging signals.

“I think there is a general willingness even with those more reluctant on the issue to contribute to the success of Glasgow,” he said.

Climate and energy ministers gathered this week in Italy’s financial capital Milan to lay the groundwork for COP26.

The meeting comes as soaring energy prices on world markets stoke fears of a popular backlash against climate reform.

Asked about calls from some EU members for a more collective approach on issues such as gas procurement, Timmermans said the European Council would be looking at the energy markets and how they function at its meeting starting Oct. 21.

Last week Brussels said it would produce a “toolbox” of measures EU countries can take to tackle energy price spikes without breaching the bloc’s energy market rules.

Spain and Italy, which have both introduced measures to curb rising power prices on consumer markets, have asked for the EU to play a greater role in areas such as buying gas.

Timmermans said Europe’s energy markets on the whole functioned well, adding policy could not be made only for extraordinary situations.

“There’s no positive effect as far as I can see in collective gas procurement but by all means let’s look into it,” he said.

(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Alison Williams)

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