In the Copenhagen Accord, Russia pledged to reduce emissions by 15% to 25% below 1990 levels by 2020 and, in September 2013, committed to the lower end of this range. They are on track to meet this target as projected emissions will reach 23–24% below the 1990 level under current policies. However, this still implies an increase of 16–17% compared to the 2010 emissions level and is rated to be an inadequate level of ambition. To be on track for their long-term target, Russia’s emissions would need to peak and start declining again.
In the Copenhagen Accord, the Russian Federation pledged a reduction of 15 to 25% below 1990 emissions by 2020. This implies an emissions level of 2.5 to 2.8 GtCO2e in 2020, assuming LULUCF emissions are excluded from the target. Although the pledge is a reduction compared to 1990 levels, it represents a 14 to 29% increase from the 2010 emissions level. In September 2013, the Russian Federation adopted Decree No. 752 On Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions, which set a target of reducing emissions by 2020 to 75% of the 1990 level (Russian Federation, 2014a). This commitment is in line with the lower end of the Copenhagen pledge range. Committing unconditionally to the more ambitious end of the target range is a step in the right direction. However, this pledge is still rated insufficient. For the global pathway until 2100 the national pledge has been included.
Russia’s Kyoto target for the first commitment period was 0% relative to 1990 levels, which is also above BAU emissions and led to a surplus of 6 MtCO2e for the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol.
Russia has not yet adopted an emissions reduction target for 2030. However, at the UN Climate Summit in September 2014, Mr. Alexander Bedritskiy, the chair of the Russian delegation, stated that “a long-term target for Russia could be limiting anthropogenic GHG emissions by 2030 at the level of 70-75% of 1990 volume” (Russian Federation, 2014b).
Currently implemented policies will lead to emissions of around 2.6 GtCO2e (excluding LULUCF) in 2020 and around 2.8GtCO2e in 2030. This represents a decrease of emissions from 1990 levels of 23–24% in 2020 and 15–16% in 2030. Emissions from land use play an important part in Russia's inventory. If these were taken into account, emissions including LULUCF would be 40–41% lower compared to the 1990 value, at 2.1 GtCO2e in 2020 and 30–31% lower at 2.4–2.5 GtCO2e in 2030. Considering the uncertainties around the LULUCF accounting, however, this additional effect is questionable and depends on policy interventions in the future.
Russia’s Sixth National Communication to the UNFCCC provides a ‘with-measures’ scenario, which foresees an increase in emissions from the 2010 level up to 2.4 GtCO2e in 2020 and 2.6 GtCO2e in 2030 (Russian Federation, 2014c). Since this scenario includes measures that have not (yet) been implemented, it is shown separately from the current policy projections in the figure.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, emissions in Russia dropped in the 1990s, with a historic low of just below 2 GtCO2e (excluding LULUCF) in 1998—down 40% from 1990 levels. Since then, emissions have increased steadily, experiencing only a small impact from the financial crisis, and are expected to continue on the same trend until 2030.
Russia’s climate policy environment has a clear focus on energy production and demand. Russia has formulated two different, but similar, energy intensity targets in different pieces of legislation. The two targets refer to different target years and baselines. In 2008, Russia adopted the “Decree on Certain Measures to Increase Energy and Ecological Efficiency of the Russian Economy,” which includes an energy intensity target of a 40% reduction between 2007 and 2020. In 2009, Russia adopted the Energy Strategy 2030 and the Energy Efficiency Federal Law., which include a slightly different energy intensity target of 44% reduction between 2005 and 2030 (UNFCCC, 2012; Sharmina et al., 2013).
In 2009, the “Decree on the Main Directions of State Policy in Improving Energy Efficiency of the Electric Power Industry Based on Renewable Energy Sources” until 2020 was adopted. This included a 2.5% renewable electricity production and consumption target for 2015, excluding electricity from large-scale hydropower, rising to 4.5% in 2020 (UNFCCC, 2012). The Russian government has outlined different programmes of measures to achieve this target, but implementation is lagging.
Although the 4.5% target for 2020 has never been amended, more recent government documents refer to a 2.5% target for 2020, such as Resolution No. 512-r on the State Program of Energy Efficiency and the Development of the Energy Sector, (IFC, 2013a; IFC, 2013b). This 2.5% target is in line with capacity-based targets of adding 3600 MW of wind power, 1520 MW of solar power and 751 of small scale hydro power over the period 2014–2020 outlined in Resolution No. 861 and referred to in Decree No. 449 on the Mechanism for the Promotion of Renewable Energy on the Wholesale Electricity and Capacity Market) (Russian Federation, 2013a; Russian Federation, 2013b).
Russia has historically had high emissions related to the flaring of natural gas. In 2009, the Decree on Measures to Stimulate the Reduction of Air Pollution from Associated Gas Flaring Products was adopted, targeting a utilisation rate of 95% for associated petroleum gas by 2012. Since this target has not been met, additional incentives for compliance were added in 2012.
Targets for 2020 were calculated from the most recent national inventory submissions (CRF, 2014). We assume that LULUCF emissions are not included in the pledge.
We calculated the Russian Federation's LULUCF accounting quantities in 2020 for afforestation, reforestation and deforestation using the current Kyoto rules. For forest management the reference level is the 1990 carbon budget.
Current policy projections
Historic data are taken from the inventory data submitted to the UNFCCC until the last available year being 2012 (CRF, 2014). The current trend projections are based on the World Energy Outlook 2014 Current Policy scenario projections for CO2 from fuel combustion until 2030 (IEA, 2014), the US EPA non-CO2 (US EPA, 2012) emission projections until 2030 and extrapolation of the historic trend for other CO2 emissions. Additionally, the flaring limit and renewable electricity generation targets are quantified. The reduction from limiting flaring is based on historic flaring data from NOAA (2011), historic oil production data from IEA (2013) and projections for oil production of the BP energy outlook (BP, 2014). The renewable electricity generation target is based on the World Energy Outlook 2014 Current Policy Scenario (IEA, 2014). With these current policies projections the energy intensity targets are achieved.
BP (2014). BP Energy Outlook 2035.
CRF (2014). UNFCCC AWG-KP Submissions 2014. Common Reporting Format.
IEA (2013). Energy Balances. International Energy Agency. Paris.
IEA (2014). World Energy Outlook 2014. International Energy Agency. Paris
IFC (2013a). Russia’s New Capacity –based Renewable Energy Support Scheme. International Finance Corporation.
NOAA (2011). Global Flaring Estimates.
Russian Federation (2010). Pledge of the Russian Federation to the Copenhagen Accord. Compiled in: Compilation of economy-wide emission reduction targets to be implemented by Parties included in Annex I to the Convention, UNFCCC (2011).
Russian Federation (2013a). Resolution No. 861.
Russian Federation (2013b). Decree No. 449.
Russian Federation (2014a). First Biennial Report of the Russian Federation.
Russian Federation (2014b). Statement by Mr. Alexander Bedritskiy, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation, Special Presidential Representative on Climate Issues at UN Climate Summit, National Action and Ambition Announcements New York, 23 September 2014.
Russian Federation (2014c). Sixth National Communication of the Russian Federation.
Shamina, M., Anderson, K., & Bows-Larkin, A. (2013). Climate change regional review: Russia. WIREs Climate Change.
USEPA (2012). Global Mitigation of Non-CO2 Greenhouse Gases. Washington, D.C., USA.