Russia Considers Unveiling 2060 Net-Zero Goal at COP26 Talks
(Bloomberg) -- Russia could come to global climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, in November with a 2060 goal of carbon neutrality, marking a reversal in President Vladimir Putin’s stance on climate change.
Such a plan is under consideration in the Kremlin, said a person familiar with situation who asked not to be named discussing information that isn’t public. Russia is also weighing a pledge to cut net carbon dioxide emissions by 79% from 2019 to 2050, according to a draft document seen by Bloomberg News.
Kommersant newspaper reported on discussions earlier Wednesday.
Russia, one of the world’s leading producers of oil and the world’s fourth-biggest emitter, has so far resisted international pressure to slow global warming, and Putin has until recently dismissed the risks posed by rising temperatures. The nation ratified the 2015 Paris climate agreement two years ago, but took little action until Putin ordered the development of a carbon strategy June. He signed a climate law in July creating a framework for green projects and development of carbon trading.
The latest version of the carbon strategy, which the Economy Ministry has submitted to the government, lays out two scenarios for cutting emissions. One is the deep cut. The other -- business as usual -- would see the emissions grow by 25% by 2050.
The document is under discussions with other ministries now, the Economy Ministry’s press service said. It may be changed before the Glasgow forum.
Climate Action Tracker, a research group, rates Russia’s current climate targets as “critically insufficient.” In November 2020, Russia submitted plans to the United Nations to cut emissions by 30% by 2030 compared with 1990 levels, a target that CAT says is less ambitious than the country’s current policies.
Russia is responsible for about 5% of all carbon dioxide dumped into the atmosphere each year. Nearly 90% of all energy Russia consumes comes from carbon-heavy sources, above the global average of about 80%, and an accelerated deployment of renewables could save the country as much as $11 billion a year by 2030.
Most large economies aim to eliminate their emissions by 2050. Only China, which still counts itself as a developing country, has a carbon neutrality goal of 2060. It argues that because advanced economies spewed so much of the carbon accumulated in the atmosphere, they should cut pollution more quickly to buy time for others to catch up -- a line that Russia could also take.
If Russia does commit to a net-zero goal, that will leave India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey as the only countries among the world’s top 20 emitters without one. Those 20 nations account for more than 80% of global emissions.
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