BOFIT Viikkokatsaus / BOFIT Weekly 2021/47

Issues related to climate change have recently gained prominence in Russia’s economic policy discussion. Much of the conversation has focused on the risks facing Russia from other countries taking measures to deal with climate change. Actual impacts of the climate change have received far less attention.

President Vladimir Putin announced in October that Russia would seek carbon neutrality by 2060. To support efforts to reach this target, Russia recently approved a low-carbon economic strategy extending through 2050. The purpose of the strategy is to secure Russia’s international competitiveness and robust economic growth in the midst of the global energy transition. The low-carbon strategy outlines a GDP growth of 3 % p.a. for Russia during 2031–2050 with greenhouse gas emissions falling at the same time. The target is ambitious given that most estimates see the long-term growth potential of Russian GDP closer to 1.5 % p.a.

Under the 2050 strategy, Russian greenhouse gas emissions would still rise slightly until 2030. By 2050, Russia’s net carbon emissions would be 60 % lower than in 2019. Much of the net reduction in carbon emissions would come from boosting the carbon uptake of Russia’s forests. Russia hopes to double the 2019 carbon-sequestering capacity of its forests by 2050. Figures from the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) suggest that Russia’s carbon-sequestering capacity has declined during the last decade.

The strategy sees actual carbon emissions reaching a level in 2050 that would be about 14 % lower than in 2019. The main components for reducing carbon emissions include increased reliance on nuclear, hydro and renewables such as wind and solar in electrical power generation, as well as application of advanced technologies at coal-burning power plants. Russia plans to electrify its transport grid and increase the energy efficiency of housing construction. Specific details on measures to reduce emissions would be released later.

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