Climate decrees

The international community marked Russia’s climate activism with a publication on the website of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Shortly before that, the President of Russia adopted a new decree on science and technology policy in the field of climate change. Representatives of public environmental organizations believe that Russia should take responsibility for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and support the development of non-resource sectors of the economy.



“An encouraging signal in the global effort to address the climate crisis,” the press service of the UNFCCC secretariat, named the initiative to create a low-carbon cluster in Sakhalin.

Climate lawmaking gained momentum after Russia ratified the Paris Agreement in the fall of 2019. In March 2020, the Ministry of Economic Development presented an emissions reduction strategy. A few months later, Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the government to achieve a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

By his new Decree No. 76 “On Measures to Implement the State Scientific and Technical Policy in the Field of Environmental Development of the Russian Federation and Climate Change,” the President of Russia instructed the government to adopt a federal program aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, the Russian government and the Bank of Russia were ordered to develop a plan to reduce risks for the Russian economy and the financial system “due to a possible reduction in investor demand for assets with high climate risks” by September 1 of this year.

A working group was created to develop the market for financing “green” projects, which develops the criteria “to identify sustainable development projects and the formation of a methodological framework, based on which it will be possible to verify the ‘green’ tools.” Market regulator engaged in the assessment of systemic risks for the economy and financial market, “associated with climate change and the implementation by foreign countries of the climate agenda.”

By the words of Oleg Pluzhnikov, development director of the National Organization for the Support of Carbon Sequestration Projects, the Russian approach to climate issues is “changing right before our eyes.”

The fact that “the business has woken up,” according to experts, is mainly due to external factors - the return of the U.S. to the Paris Agreement, the European Union’s plans to introduce the mechanism of cross-border carbon adjustment, and the intention of the largest exporter of Russian energy resources, China, to achieve climate neutrality by 2060.

Meanwhile, experts believe that the noticeable revival in climate policy is still only an external reaction, which does not entail internal changes.

“The Russian government has no desire to go the way of decarbonization,” Deutsche Welle quoted Tatiana Mitrova, research director at the Center for Energy at the Skolkovo School of Management in Moscow, as saying, “There is a clear desire to "think of how to preserve exports in conditions when all major buyers of Russian hydrocarbons in Europe and Asia are going to give them up by 2050-2060.”

This opinion is confirmed by the fact that, in parallel with the climate initiatives, the state continues to increase tax preferences for the oil sector.

Commenting on the new decree on the climate, Mikhail Yulkin, CEO of CarbonLab, is puzzled as to why, instead of creating mechanisms for adaptation to climate change, the document talks about studying them? According to the expert, the subject is studied - this is confirmed by the annual submission of national reports to the UNFCCC.

“All this has little to do with the really urgent tasks that need to be addressed to mitigate anthropogenic climate change, which poses an existential threat to mankind....A most important thing is still oil and gas.”

Representatives of public environmental organizations, including experts from the Russian Social and Ecological Union (RSoEU), write in the Report  “The Green Course of Russia”, that Russia needs to take responsibility for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by transforming its economic system and actively developing non-resource (primarily green) sectors of the economy. In their view, urgent changes are needed in the energy sector, including an accelerated transition to renewable energy sources and increased energy efficiency.