Putin orders govt to have emissions reduction plan by October
SAINT PETERSBURG, June 4, 2021 (BSS/AFP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday ordered his government to develop a plan to cut carbon emissions to below the level of the European Union by 2050.
Russia, one of the world’s major producers of oil and gas, is also the fourth-highest producer of carbon emissions.
“In the next 30 years, the accumulated volume of net greenhouse gas emissions should be lower than in Europe,” Putin said at the Saint Petersburg Economic Forum, adding that a government plan should be ready by October 1 this year.
In March last year, Russia released a draft of a long-term strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
It envisions a 33 percent cut in emissions by 2030 compared to the levels of 1990.
But because Russian gas emissions fell significantly in the 1990s as the Soviet Union collapsed, some experts believe this plan would actually allow Russia to slightly increase its emissions.
“To solve the problem of climate change, it is not enough to just reduce carbon emissions,” Putin said.
“It is important to increase the efficiency of using forests and land, their absorption capacity,” he said.
Russia has set numerous heat records over the past few years.
Putin on Friday acknowledged his country was facing serious challenges related to climate change, noting that, “like other countries, we feel the risks in this area including desertification, erosion, the melting of permafrost”.
Weather monitors in the country have recorded a historic decline in the summer ice cover of Russia’s Arctic maritime shipping route, called the Northern Sea Route. In some years, it was almost completely free of ice by the end of summer.
Transit of the eastern Arctic usually ends in November but Russia hopes climate change means the commercial benefit of the route will increase.