Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has highlighted the need for the world to reduce demand for fossil fuels (fossil gas, oil, and coal) as the right response to both climate and energy crises. The full implications of the energy crisis are being felt globally, and the extent of their impact is uncertain.
Russia’s efforts to tackle climate change remain very low. Its few relevant policies are unambitious or have an unclear expected effect on emissions. Russia’s existing policies indicate no real commitment to curb emissions. The CAT estimates that Russia can easily reach its updated NDC target from November 2020 with adopted policies and should therefore submit a stronger 2030 target.
In September 2022, the Russian government provided more detail on its net zero GHG emissions target for 2060. The government assumes that by 2050 forests would take up twice as much carbon as they do today, which means that all other emissions do not really have to reach zero, but only need to be cut by in half to reach the overall net zero target. No information substantiates such an enormous increase of carbon take-up. It also doesn’t appear to address the impact of enormous wildfires in its Siberian forests in recent years.
In 2021, Russia adopted its law aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions, having gutted it of all measures that would have resulted in substantive emissions reductions. The Energy Strategy to 2035, adopted in 2021, focuses almost exclusively on promoting fossil fuel extraction, consumption, and exports to the rest of the world. Such a strong focus on increasing reliance on fossil fuel revenues poses a considerable economic risk in a future compatible with the Paris Agreement's 1.5°C temperature limit.
Russia’s lack of any substantial contribution to international climate finance goals, together with its highly insufficient domestic target and climate policies result in the CAT giving Russia an overall rating of “Critically Insufficient”.
The CAT rates Russia’s climate targets, policies and finance as “Critically insufficient”. The “Critically insufficient” rating indicates that Russia’s climate policies and commitments reflect minimal to no action and are not at all consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit.
Russia failed to increase its ambition when it submitted its NDC update in November 2020. We rate the updated NDC target as “Highly insufficient” when compared to modelled domestic pathways and “Critically insufficient” when compared with its fair share emissions allocation. It is also not providing adequate climate finance, which we rate as “Critically insufficient”. The weak target will be easily met under existing policies and action, which we rate as “Highly insufficient”.
Russia needs to set a more ambitious target for emissions reductions, adopt and implement additional policies, and provide additional finance to improve its CAT rating.
Russia’s efforts to tackle climate change are deficient. Under current policies, Russia’s economy-wide emissions are expected to continue rising to 2030, when they should be rapidly declining, especially for such a large emitter. The CAT rates Russia’s current policies as “Highly insufficient” when compared to modelled domestic pathways. The “Highly insufficient” rating indicates that Russia’s policies and actions are not at all consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C. If all countries were to follow Russia’s approach, warming could reach over 3°C and up to 4°C.
In June 2021 Russia adopted its heavily watered-down climate bill that, unlike the original iteration of the legislation, does not enforce emissions quotas or impose penalties on large GHG emitters. Instead, it simply requires companies to report their emissions starting from 2024. Considerable uncertainty remains in Russia’s renewable energy sector, with no targets in place beyond its very modest renewable electricity generation target of 4.5% (excluding hydropower) by 2024 that it will not achieve. In the transport sector, Russia has taken steps to promote the production and purchase of EVs as well as reduce transport emissions.
The full policies and action analysis can be found here.
We rate Russia’s 2030 domestic emissions reduction target of a 30% reduction below 1990 levels by 2030 as being “Highly insufficient” when compared with modelled domestic emissions pathways. The “Highly insufficient” rating indicates that Russia’s domestic target in 2030 is not at all consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C. If all countries were to follow Russia’s approach, warming could reach over 3°C and up to 4°C.
The CAT’s assessment of Russia’s total fair share contribution takes into account its emissions reduction target and its climate finance.
We rate Russia’s 2030 emissions target of a 30% reduction below 1990 levels as “Critically insufficient” when compared to its fair share emissions allocation. The “Critically insufficient” rating indicates that Russia’s target, when compared to what its fair share would be in 2030, reflects minimal to no action and is not at all consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C. Russia’s target is not in line with any interpretation of a fair approach to meeting the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit. If all countries were to follow Russia’s approach, warming would exceed 4°C.
Russia’s international public finance contributions are rated “Critically insufficient”. Russia has not made any substantial contribution to international climate finance since the adoption of the Paris Agreement. To improve its rating, Russia needs to urgently increase its financial contributions and stop funding fossil fuels abroad.
Russia’s climate finance is not sufficient to improve its fair share rating, and the CAT rates Russia’s overall fair share contribution as “Critically insufficient”.
Russia’s land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector has been a large emissions sink since the mid-1990s, reaching a maximum of -720 MtCO2e in 2010 (36% of total non-LULUCF GHG emissions). This has since declined to -569 MtCO2e in 2020, the latest year of inventory data, and is expected to continue declining to 246 MtCO2e in 2030 under current policies. A recent announcement by the Environment Ministry outlines Russia’s intention to include unmanaged ‘reserve’ forests alongside managed forests in accounting of net forestry emissions. This is in violation of a key element of international climate reporting, with the UN’s IPCC guidelines stating that only managed forests may be included in carbon accounting practices.
Russian Federation approved its ‘Strategy of socio-economic development of the Russian Federation with low greenhouse gas emissions by 2050’ in October 2021 and submitted it to the UNFCCC in September 2022. The strategy outlines several measures intended to enable the achievement of its net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2060 target, but they are lacking detail on how or when they will be implemented, or what their projected impact on emissions would be. The CAT evaluates the net zero target’s comprehensiveness as “Poor”.
The full net zero target analysis can be found here.