Transition from the «Brown Economy» Model to the «Green Economy» in Russia and Abroad

Kodaneva S.I.


The rapid industrial development in the twentieth century led to a sharp increase in adverse anthropogenic impact on the environment, associated with the increasing consumption of natural resources, on the one hand, and the growth in waste as well as various emissions to the atmosphere and water, on the other hand. This has led to an increase in the number of natural disasters and a broad range of health problems in the population. The seriousness of the negative processes has forced the world community to include sustainable development in the agenda of global forums. The most significant and widely discussed document on this issue is the UN 2030 Agenda for sustainable development (Sustainable Development Goals), the analysis of which allows us to conclude that environmental security is a key condition for the implementation of all other goals (social and economic). Thus, the concept of sustainable development has gradually transformed itself into the concept of «green economy», which aims to improve the quality of life through the rational use of natural resources. The Russian Federation has not stayed away from these processes and a number of strategic documents in the field of ecology declare our commitment to both sustainable development goals and the ideology of the «green economy». However, in practice, the implementation of the strategic guidelines of the Russian Government is still far from the stated objectives. This article examines this situation in three key areas relevant to the green economy – energy, waste management and water resources – both in Russia and abroad. The paper contains statistical data reflecting the state of affairs in these areas as well as addresses some practical problems of introducing the «green» logic in our policies. The study shows that the Russian Federation lags far behind developed and developing countries, such as China, in the transition to «green standards». The author makes two points. First, Russia's real transition to a «green economy» is not possible in the framework of the existing model based solely on economic indicators, which do not take into consideration the quality of growth and its environmental and social costs. As a result, the gap between such categories as «economy» and «ecology» persists and keeps exacerbating. Bridging this gap is possible through the transition from traditional GDP indicators to «green GDP» as a composite indicator that assesses the state of the economy not only from the standpoint of income but also in terms of ecological development. Secondly, as of now, no strategic document in the field of ecology pays any serious attention to the role of people in the introduction of «green technologies». However, the implementation of the «green policy» is impossible without a radical restructuring of the mentality of the population and forging new lifestyles and modes of behavior in the society.


green economy; circular economy; sustainable development; renewable energy; solid waste management; water resources; green GDR.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2020.01.03

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