Russia has made what was deemed its first major step to regulate CO2 emissions on a government level. The country’s lower house of parliament adopted a law that, if passed, will obligate companies with large greenhouse gas emissions to report their emissions. The law will also aim to incentivize local companies to move away from environmentally harmful practices and invest in projects designed to restore nature.
This new law has yet to pass the approval of the upper house of parliament and then be signed by President Vladimir Putin before it can come into force.
So far, this has been the first significant step to cutting emissions on Russia’s behalf, after joining the Paris climate change pact in 2019, after facing criticism for having the least ambitious targets among the larger economies in the pact.
Even so, however, things are not as smooth and straightforward as one would have hoped. Despite the new self-imposed target of Russia to cut CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, realistically, Russia’s greenhouse gas emissions are likely to edge up as far as up to 2050.
The collapse of industry caused by the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 naturally reduced the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the air. Yet Moscow’s present economic plan envisions fossil fuel production to be increased tenfold by 2035, and the construction of new infrastructure for the purpose is already underway.
As a result, it is certain that by 2050, Russia will still be relying on oil and coal for over half of its energy mix, whereas others from the world’s largest economies are expected to be entirely carbon-free by that time.