Russia can become carbon-free

Russia is able to switch to a carbon-free economy: the International Petroleum Corporation (BP) has presented energy development forecasts for specific countries (Country Insight). Activists from public environmental organizations believe that the “green course” for Russia is quite realistic.

In the far from the easy situation for the world, large corporations associated with minerals began to analyze global energy trends. Analytical reviews of British Petroleum for individual countries are based on data from the annual Energy Outlook report. Forecasts are calculated under three scenarios: economic development in the current regime (Business as usual, BAU), accelerated (Rapid), and completely carbon-free (Net Zero).

As it follows from the ВР report for Russia, the Russian economy at current paces will grow at a rate of 1.1% per year until 2050, which is higher than the 0.7% index for the period from 1990 to 2018. Due to a moderate increase in energy efficiency, primary energy consumption (fuel before processing) in Russia will remain at the same level in the BAU scenario (-1.4% for 2018-2050), and slightly declining in the options Rapid (-7%) and Net Zero (-11%).


At the current rate of economic development in the BAU scenario, the demand for oil remains stable (+ 6% for the period from 2018 to 2050), and decreases by 40% and 60% in the Rapid and Net Zero scenarios, respectively.


Gas will remain Russia’s key export energy resource, and its production will increase under all three scenarios.  The volume of gas produced by 2050 will reach 671 billion m3 in the Rapid scenario and 917 billion m3 in the BAU scenario. According to the most conservative scenario, the share of gas in the structure of primary energy resources production will grow up to 57 percent, stay at 48 percent under the Rapid option and decrease to 23 percent in Net-Zero. In two environmental scenarios, gas consumption will decrease by 22% and 61%, respectively.


BP experts conclude that if each of the two “non-inert” scenarios is implemented, Russia will soon be able to switch to a carbon-free economy.


As estimated by BP analysts, the production of renewable energy sources increases significantly in all scenarios, mainly due to wind power. The share of renewable energy in primary energy production increases up to 4% in the BAU scenario, 20% in Rapid scenario and 48% in Net Zero scenario. In the last two scenarios renewables become the largest source of energy by 2030-2050.


Demand for coal BP experts doomed in all scenarios. Nuclear power generation is growing in all three scenarios: 17% for BAU, 32% for Rapid, and 94% for Net Zero by 2050. Nuclear energy is held at 9% in the primary energy structure in the Rapid scenario and at 13% in Net Zero.


As indicated by BP analysts, the total reduction of CO2 emissions will amount to 92% in the Net Zero scenario, 69% in the Rapid mode and 24% in BAU.


“The world is on an unsustainable path: the scenarios show that achieving rapid and sustainable emission reductions is likely to require a number of policy measures,” the authors of the BP review write. Policy changes are likely to be complemented by changes in public behavior and preferences. Delaying these measures and social shifts may significantly increase the magnitude of the problem and lead to substantial additional economic costs and shocks.


Activists of the Russian Social-Ecological Union (RSEU), as well as experts, see the country’s future in “green” development. In their Position, they appeal to adopt a national Low Carbon Development Strategy until 2050, contributing to the objectives of the Paris Agreement.


The Strategy should correspond to the global environmental transition to carbon-free energy by the middle of the 21st century, provide for a speedy phase-out of coal use and, in the future, a reduction in dependence on all types of fossil fuels, and should not include an increase in the share of nuclear power plants and large dam hydroelectric power plants in the energy balance of the country,” said civil activists. This summer, the RS&EU in partnership with Greenpeace launched an online platform “The Green Course for Russia.” Together with social movements, socially and environmentally responsible businesses, and leading experts in the field of economics and environmental protection, they formulated proposals to overcome the economic and climatic crisis.

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