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While it is more than likely that Russia will achieve its INDC target, the target is so weak that it would not require a decrease in GHG emissions from current levels—nor would it require the Government to adopt a low-carbon economic development strategy. As a result, we have given Russia our lowest rating: “Critically Insufficient.”
Despite its high vulnerability to the impacts of climate change (confirmed by a recent report from the Environment Ministry), Russia has made little progress in climate action implementation—indeed, the government is delaying the adoption of ambitious climate targets and policies, which has led to the Russian Federation being the only big emitter that has not yet ratified the Paris Agreement. Their national strategy may delay ratification until at least 2019.
In March 2018, Vladimir Putin was re-elected as President of the Russian Federation for a fourth mandate that ends in 2024. In May, President Putin issued an executive order and a series of Decrees with the objective of achieving a technological, environmental and economic breakthrough over his new term in office.
The Environment Ministry then drafted the “Ecology” (Экология) programme focusing on air pollution reduction, reforestation and improving waste management. None of the ten directions in the Ecology project relate directly to GHG emissions reductions, although the “clean air”, “waste management” and “preservation of forest” could have important synergies with climate mitigation. The budget that had been initially planned for the Plan was also cut by 17 percent.
According to our latest estimates, Russia’s currently implemented policies will lead to emissions of between 2.6 and 2.7 GtCO2e in 2020 and between 2.8 and 3 GtCO2e in 2030 (both excluding LULUCF), which is 0-4% and 6-14% above 2016 emission levels, respectively. This represents a decrease in emissions from 1990 levels of 27-29% in 2020 and 20-25% in 2030, all below the INDC targets, which allow emissions to grow 6–24% above 2016 levels by 2020 and 15–22% by 2030.
With this approach, the Russian economy is at risk of losing global competitiveness in the medium to long term in a market that is moving fast towards the development of low-carbon technologies.
A first step towards contributing to the Paris Agreement’s goals would be for Russia to speed up the national process for ratification of the Agreement and present a 2030 target setting out actual emissions reductions beyond the current policy scenario. This would not only be more credible from an international perspective, but would also help to align national policy developments with the long-term emission reductions needed to avoid dangerous levels of climate change, which represent high risks to the national economy.