In November 2020, Russia put forward an updated emissions reduction target of at least 30% below 1990 levels by 2030. This updated target does not represent an increase in climate action, as it is simply the lower bound of the previous target’s range (25-30%). The CAT estimates that Russia can easily reach this target with the policies being implemented, and should therefore submit a stronger 2030 target.
In October 2021, the Russian government approved its long-term climate strategy, which includes a net zero GHG emissions target for 2060, and targets an 80% reduction below 1990 levels by 2050. A projected doubling in the level of negative emissions from the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector between 2030 and 2050 is the primary method by which Russia aims to reach net zero emissions.
Earlier in 2021, Russia’s Environment Ministry announced a change to Russia’s forestry emissions accounting to include emissions from unmanaged forests. While this would result in a far greater level of registered negative emissions, it violates UN guidelines that exclude these emissions from being included in national inventories. The steep increase in projected negative emissions to 2050 that coincides with this accounting change raises questions as to the viability of actually achieving net zero emissions without also targeting deep cuts in emissions from fossil fuel combustion.
Russia’s law aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions, previously having been gutted of all measures that would have resulted in substantive emissions reductions, was adopted in 2021. The Energy Strategy to 2035, adopted in 2021, focuses almost exclusively on promoting fossil fuel extraction, consumption, and export 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 Paris Agreement compatible world.
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.
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 either flatline or continue rising to 2030, when they should be rapidly declining, especially for such a large emitter.
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 2023. 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 is already unlikely to achieve.
Mandatory energy efficiency standards for new buildings were abolished in 2020 and replaced with mandates on automated heating controls and bans on particular inefficient heating systems. It is not clear whether these measures will achieve the efficiency standards of the previous legislation. Action in the transport sector remains very limited, with next to no electric vehicles sold in Russia in 2020 and no plans to target emissions from heavy duty vehicles.
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 the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit. If all countries were to follow Russia’s approach, warming could reach over 3°C and up to 4°C.
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 the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit. 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 the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit. Russia’s target is not in line with any interpretation of a fair approach to meeting the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C 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 peak of 723 MtCO2e in 2010 (35% of total non-LULUCF GHG emissions). This has since declined to 535 MtCO2e in 2019, 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.
The Russian Federation approved its ‘Strategy of socio-economic development of the Russian Federation with low greenhouse gas emissions by 2050’ in October 2021. As part of this strategy, Russia has committed to reaching net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2060.
The strategy outlines several measures intended to enable the achievement of its 2060 target, but they are lacking detail on how or when they will be implemented, or what their projected impact on emissions would be. Development of an implementation “road map” for the strategy has been ordered for completion sometime in 2022.
We evaluate the net zero target’s comprehensiveness as: "Poor". Full details of the assessment are here.