Russia abandons setting emission targets for companies

Russia abandons setting emission targets for companies Photo: kremlin.ru

No goal on greenhouse gas emissions will be set for Russian companies in the near future despite President Putin's statement that “Russia must do whatever it could to mitigate the effects of global warming”. The country is likely to meet its target under the Paris accord without much effort. Nonetheless, implementing international practices would be a sign of Russia's commitment to the agreement's global goal.

Russia has ditched plans to set greenhouse gas emissions targets for companies as a sign of its commitment to fighting climate change, reports Bloomberg. Fining companies for exceeding their emissions targets was part of a bill intended to accompany Russia’s ratification of the 2015 Paris Agreement. When President Vladimir Putin finally agreed to ratify the agreement in September, he declared that Russia must do whatever it could to mitigate the effects of global warming.

However, the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs sharply opposed the proposal on emission goals. According to the union, the measures would lead to increased energy prices and inflation that would “negatively affect the well-being of ordinary people” and force companies to abandon investment plans. As a result, the Ministry of Economic Development decided to abandon the specific regulatory requirements “after consultations with the government”. According to the ministry, the government may introduce some measures after 1 January 2024 in case that Russia is forecast to miss its emissions targets.

In Russia, there is no unified state system for monitoring and regulating greenhouse gas emissions. Photo: pxhere.com

Critics of the bill insisted that the measure was unnecessary, as Russia has a low goal for greenhouse gas reductions. Under the Paris accord, the country promised to limit greenhouse gas emissions to 70-75% of baseline levels by 2030. Given that Russia uses 1990 as the baseline reference year, it can even increase its current emissions and still meet the target. Nonetheless, introducing the requirements would demonstrate the Kremlin’s commitment to fighting against climate change and bring Russia into line with international practice of shifting the economy away from carbon-heavy industries. According to estimates of London-based Carbon Tracker think tank, the world’s major oil and gas companies need to cut combined production by 35% by 2040 to keep emissions within the Paris targets.

“Russia is choosing to delay the process of establishing a system for reducing carbon emissions,” commented Georgy Safonov, head of the Centre for Environmental and Natural Resource Economics at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics. “The 2030 goals have already been met, so there’s a feeling that we don’t need to do anything to cut emissions before then.”

By the end of 2020, the Kremlin is supposed to present its new long-term strategy for reducing carbon emissions, said Ruslan Edelgeriev, Putin’s senior adviser on climate change.

By Anna Litvina