Russian and EAEU Commitments Concerning Climate Change

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In November 2016, the Paris Climate Agreement entered into force, signed by 195 countries, including Russia. The main goal is to keep the increase in global average temperature below 2 ° C and, if possible, limit it to 1.5 ° C. It is expected to achieve this goal by reducing the level of greenhouse gas emissions, in particular, carbon dioxide. The agreement stipulates that each participating country must prepare, communicate and maintain nationally determined contributions aimed at achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. Contributions are a set of activities with targets, such as reducing emissions.

All activities can be divided into five main areas:

  • increasing the share of electricity generated using renewable energy sources and reducing the consumption of fossil fuels;
  • transition to carbon-neutral fuel (hydrogen);
  • increasing the energy efficiency of buildings, industries, transport, etc .;
  • development of a closed-cycle economy, involving the use of waste arising in the production process;
  • forest regeneration and effective forest resource management.

136 signatory countries to the Paris Agreement have set deadlines for achieving carbon neutrality. Most of them plan to achieve this goal by 2050, including the EU countries, the United States. Russia, along with China, and Brazil stated they would comply by 2060.

Large companies are also announcing deadlines for achieving carbon neutrality. Among Russian businesses, these include En + Group, Tatneft, X5 Retail Group, S7 Airlines and LUKOIL, who plan to comply by 2050.

The volume of greenhouse gas emissions generated by Russia is 2119 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. According to this indicator, Russia is the fourth largest emitter, behind China (11,705 million tons), the United States (5794 million tons) and India (3346 million tons). In terms of emissions per capita, Russia ranks 35th (13.79 tonnes), located between New Zealand (14.4 tonnes) and Paraguay (13.7 tonnes). According to the target scenario of the Strategy of Socio-Economic Development of Russia with a low level of greenhouse gas emissions until 2050, by 2030, the total volume of greenhouse gas emissions in Russia should be 2,212 million tons per year, and by 2050 it should be reduced to 1,830 million tons.

Growth in electricity generated from renewable sources remains one of the key areas for achieving carbon neutrality. The International Energy Agency estimates that in order to achieve this goal by 2050, the share of such electricity should reach 88%. Today this value is 28% of the total volume of electricity generated in the world, in Russia – 20%. For comparison, the same share is typical for the USA and India.

What other steps are being taken in Russia?

Since 2020, an experiment has been launched in Russia to set quotas for pollutant emissions. 12 large industrial centers, including Krasnoyarsk, Magnitogorsk, Norilsk and others, are participating in the pilot. Quotas are established for industrial enterprises, social and transport infrastructure.

Organizations independently develop measures aimed at reducing emissions, set deadlines for the implementation of these plans. By the end of 2024, it is planned to implement more than 200 measures to reduce emissions of pollutants, the environmental effect of which should lead to a decrease in the total volume of emissions by 1501 thousand tons.

The Sakhalin Region is testing Russia’s first regional system of international carbon trading. Thanks to this, Sakhalin should reach full carbon neutrality by 2025.

The next important step is the need to form a mechanism for monitoring compliance with the measures submitted by countries to ensure the goals of the Paris Agreement at the international level, as well as create conditions for developing and least developed countries to achieve their nationally determined contributions.

At the same time, it seems advisable to form a coordinated position on achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement at the level of the EAEU countries in order to act as a single bloc or with a similar position on the UN platform on climate issues, promoting regional interests. National models for decarbonization of the economies of the EAEU countries are significantly different from each other: getting the EAEU aligned would be a huge step forward. 

This article has been edited and translated from its original format in Investia. 

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Russia Briefing is written by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm has 28 offices throughout Eurasia, including China, Russia, India, and the ASEAN nations, assisting foreign investors into the Eurasian region. Please contact Maria Kotova at russia@dezshira.com for Russian investment advisory or assistance with market intelligence, legal, tax and compliance issues throughout Asia.

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