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What is Russiaʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

In brief

This is a summary of the most important findings of our analysis. Get a brief overview over the most important figures and entry points into the various parts of the in depth analysis.

Sections on this page

Ambition gap

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Russiaʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

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Displayed values
Reference year
−120 %−100 %−80 %−60 %−40 %−20 %0 %200020202040206012345
  • 1.5°C compatible pathways
  • Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
  • Current policy projections
  • 1.5°C emissions range
  • Historical emissions
Legend
  1. 1
    1.5°C emissions level
    −74 %
  2. 2
    NDC
    −24 %
  3. 3
    Ambition gap
    −50 %
  4. 4
    Net zero GHG incl. BECCS excl. LULUCF and novel CDR
    2069
  5. 5
    Reference year
    1990
Key messages

In late 2020 Russia updated its NDC from a 25-30% reduction below 1990 levels by 2030, to a 30% reduction.1 This does not represent an increase in ambition as government projections show Russia will achieve this target under current unambitious policies.2

1 Russian Federation. NATIONALLY DETERMINED CONTRIBUTION OF the RUSSIAN FEDERATION. (2020).

2 Russian Federation. Russian Federation Fourth Biennial Report. (2019).

3 Russian Federation. Russia Energy Strategy 2035. (2020).

4 Russian Federation. Russia Draft Long-Term Climate Strategy. (2020).

5 Russian Federation. Russian Federation: National Inventory Report 2020. (2020).

6 IEA. World Energy Outlook 2016. (2016) doi:10.1787/weo-2016-en.

7 IEA. World Energy Outlook 2020. (2020).

8 Climate Transparency. Russia – Climate Transparency Report. (2020).

9 Vavina, E. Russia will allocate 725 billion rubles for the development of renewable energy by 2050. Vedomosti. (2019).

10 Climate Action Tracker. CAT Climate Action Update Tracker: Russian Federation. (2021).

11 IRENA. Remap 2030: Renewable Energy Prospects for the Russian Federation. A Renewable Energy Prospects for Ukraine (2017).

12 Russian Railways. Strategy for the Development of Rail Transport in the Russian Federation up to 2030. (2008).

13 The Moscow Times. Russia Rejects Climate Change Plan After Business Uproar. The Moscow Times. (2019).

14 Some pathways include sinks based on bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

15 While global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C provide useful guidance for an upper-limit of emissions trajectories for developed countries, they underestimate the feasible space for such countries to reach net zero earlier. The current generation of models tend to depend strongly on land-use sinks outside of currently developed countries and include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches. The scientific teams which provide these global pathways constantly improve the technologies represented in their models – and novel CDR technologies are now being included in new studies focused on deep mitigation scenarios meeting the Paris Agreement. A wide assessment database of these new scenarios is not yet available; thus, we rely on available scenarios which focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology. Accordingly, we do not yet consider land-sector emissions (LULUCF) and other CDR approaches which developed countries will need to implement in order to counterbalance their remaining emissions and reach net zero GHG are not considered here due to data availability.

Russia would need to more than double its planned 2030 emissions reductions to at least 74% below 1990 levels (excluding LULUCF) to be 1.5°C compatible.

Russia’s draft long-term climate strategy targets a 36-48% reduction in emissions below 1990 levels by 2050.4

This stands in contrast with 1.5°C compatible pathways, which show a reduction in total GHG emissions of at least 93% by 2050 below 1990 levels or around 223 MtCO2e/yr, when excluding emissions from the land sector.15

Russia will then need to balance its remaining emissions to reach net zero GHG. With its current land sink, Russia is well positioned to reach net zero GHG without reliance on technological CDR.

A comprehensive re-evaluation of the future role of fossil fuels in the Russian economy is needed to shift Russia to a 1.5°C compatible trajectory, which would require 92-100% renewable energy generation by 2050.

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Key messages

Russia’s Energy Strategy 2035 forecasts an increase in domestic coal, natural gas, gasoline, and diesel consumption by as much as 3%, 5%, 6% and 20%, respectively by 2035.3

This diverges dramatically from a 1.5°C pathway for Russia, which requires a complete phase out of coal from the power sector by 2030 and overall emissions falling by at least 63% by the same year.

Ratcheting up Russia’s current, weak 4.5% non-hydropower renewable generation target by 2024, and implementing policies to begin rolling these technologies out at scale could help close its large ambition gap.

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Key power sector benchmarks

Renewables shares and year of zero emissions power Including the use of BECCS

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Current targets
Required targets
2020
  1. 2020 3 % Renewable share
2024
  1. 2024 5 % Renewable share
2030
  1. 2030 75 to 92% Renewable share
2039
  1. 2039-2041 Zero emissions power
2050
  1. 2050 92 to 100% Renewable share

Footnotes