Russia’s updated NDC, put forward in November 2020, with an emissions reduction target of at least 30% below 1990 levels by 2030 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 current policies and should, therefore, submit a stronger 2030 target.
In September 2022, the Russian government submitted its long-term climate strategy (LTS) to the UNFCCC. The net zero GHG emissions target for 2060 included in the LTS relies on Russia’s land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector’s negative emissions more than doubling between 2030 (-539 MtCO2e) and 2050 (-1200 MtCO2e), though the LTS provides no information to substantiate the increase.
|RUSSIAN FEDERATION - Main climate targets|
|2030 NDC target|
|Formulation of target in NDC||Limiting GHG emissions to up to 70% compared to 1990 levels by 2030, taking into account the maximum possible absorptive capacity of forests and other ecosystems, and subject to sustainable and balanced socio-economic development of the Russian Federation.|
|Absolute emissions level in 2030 excl. LULUCF||
Up to 2,408 MtCO2e
[24% below 1990]
[20% above 2010]
|Status||Submitted on 25 November 2020|
|Net zero target & other long-term targets|
|Formulation of target||Achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and their absorption no later than 2060.|
|Absolute emissions level in 2050 excl. LULUCF||N/A*|
|Status||Submitted on 5 September 2022|
*For details on what we do for our Optimistic Target global temperature estimate, see the Assumptions tab.
CAT rating of targets
The CAT rates NDC targets against what a country should be doing within its own borders as well as what a fair contribution to limiting warming to 1.5°C would be. For assessing targets against the fair share, we consider both a country’s domestic emission reductions and any emissions it supports abroad through the use of market mechanisms or other ways of support, as relevant.
The CAT rates Russia's NDC target as "Highly insufficient" when rated against modelled domestic pathways ("domestic target"), and "Critically insufficient" when rated against its fair share contribution ("fair share target"). We assess Russia’s total fair share contribution by considering its emissions reduction target and its climate finance. Russia’s climate finance is not sufficient to improve the fair share target rating.
The CAT rates Russia’s updated NDC 2030 emissions target, at least a 30% reduction below 1990 levels (incl. LULUCF), as “Highly insufficient” when compared with modelled domestic emissions pathways. The “Highly insufficient” rating indicates that Russia’s domestic target in 2030 leads to rising, rather than falling, emissions and 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.
We rate Russia’s updated 2030 emissions target as “Critically insufficient” when compared with its fair-share emissions allocation. The “Critically insufficient” rating indicates that Russia’s target, 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 fairness. Substantial improvements are needed. Some of these improvements should be made to the domestic emissions target itself, others could come in the form of additional support for emissions reductions achieved in developing countries in the form of finance. If all countries were to follow Russia’s approach, warming would exceed 4°C.
Russia’s international climate finance is rated as “Critically insufficient” (see below) and is not enough to improve Russia’s fair share rating.
Russia’s international public finance contributions are rated as “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 both increase its financial contributions and stop funding fossil fuels abroad.
As of August 2022, Russia committed USD 3m in climate finance to the Green Climate Fund in the initial resource mobilisation (IRM) round and USD 10m in the first replenishment round, which lasts until 2023 (Green Climate Fund, 2022). Even considering these commitments, contributions remain critically insufficient considering the size of Russia’s economy and its historical responsibility.
Russia actively finances fossil fuels abroad. From 2013 to 2019, Russia sent USD 1.5bn in public finance to countries in Africa and the Middle East to support fossil fuel projects (Ferris, 2021) including coal, such as in the Long Phu Coal Plant in Vietnam (Ferris, 2021; Global Energy Monitor, 2022).
Further information on how the CAT rates countries (against modelled domestic pathways and fair share) can be found here.
As of October 2022, Russia had not yet submitted a strengthened NDC as requested by the Glasgow Climate Pact agreed at COP26.
Russia formally submitted an updated 2030 emissions target to the UNFCCC in November 2020. The update did not strengthen the country’s 2030 target in any real sense, as it is higher than Russia’s own 2030 emissions projections (“with measures” scenario in the government reported projections) (Russian Federation, 2019b).
Russia’s updated 2030 target of a 30% reduction below 1990 levels, which replaces its previous target of 25-30%, amounts to a 2030 emissions level of 2,408 MtCO2e, which is equivalent to 24% below 1990 levels, excluding LULUCF, according to CAT estimates. Given the latest emissions projections under current policies provided by the Russian Government show 2030 emissions at 2,296 MtCO2e (excluding LULUCF), this does not represent an actual cut to emissions (Russian Federation, 2019b).
Russia’s 2020 NDC is stronger on paper but does not alter the real-world trajectory of its emissions. Maintaining the same level of real-world emissions in 2030 goes against the Paris Agreement’s requirement that each successive NDC should represent a progression beyond the current one.
|RUSSIA — History of NDC updates||2019 NDC||2020 NDC update|
|2019 NDC||2020 NDC update|
|Formulation of target in NDC||
Limiting GHG emissions to 70-75% of 1990 levels by 2030, subject to the maximum possible account of absorbing capacity of forests.
Limiting GHG emissions to up to 70% compared to 1990 levels by 2030, taking into account the maximum possible absorptive capacity of forests.
|Absolute emissions level in 2030 excl. LULUCF||
2,408 – 2,563 MtCO2e
Up to 2,408 MtCO2e
|Emissions compared to 1990 and 2010 excl. LULUCF||
19-24% below 1990 emissions by 2030
20-27% above 2010 emissions by 2030
24% below 1990 emissions by 2030
20% above 2010 emissions by 2030
Internationally supported target:
Fair share target:
|Separate target for LULUCF||No||Unchanged|
|Gas coverage||All greenhouse gases||Unchanged|
|Target type||Absolute emissions reduction from a base year||Unchanged|
|Explanation why the target is a fair contribution towards the global goal||Not provided||Unchanged|
|Followed guidance in Decision 4/CMA.1 on target transparency||N/A||Yes|
* Before September 2021, all CAT ratings were based exclusively on fair share and only assessed a country’s target.
Analysis of earlier NDC developments:
- 25.11.2020: Russia formally submits NDC update to UNFCCC
- 04.11.2020: Russia adopts new 2030 target
- 23.03.2020: Russia proposed updated 2030 target
Net zero and other long-term target(s)
Russia 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 as its long-term climate strategy (LTS) (Russian Federation, 2021a, 2022c).
As part of this strategy, Russia has committed to reaching net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2060. The strategy also includes a target to reduce GHG emissions by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, leaning heavily on negative emissions from the LULUCF sector, which are projected to more than double between 2030 and 2050, from -539 MtCO2e to -1,200 MtCO2e.
The enormous increase in negative emissions achieved through the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector means that steep reductions in emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels would not be necessary to achieve net zero emissions. The steep increase in negative emissions raises questions as to the viability of Russia’s planned approach to reach net zero emissions given emissions from fossil fuel combustion are projected to remain high until 2050. We evaluate the target as “Poor”.
For the full analysis click here.
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