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Current situation

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

Emissions profile

Since a dramatic 41% fall in total emissions between 1990 and 1998 (excluding LULUCF emissions) after the collapse of the Soviet Union, emissions have steadily risen to be 33% below 1990 levels in 2019.6 A steep increase in the size of the forestry sector as a sink since the early nineties has led to over half a gigatonne of removals each year since the start of the 2000’s, while all other sectors, excluding agriculture, have seen significant emission increases over this period.

Despite overall CO₂ emissions being 34% lower in 2019 than in 1990, emissions from natural gas consumption have returned to 1990 levels. Emissions from oil and petroleum products are roughly half of what they were in 1990 and emissions from coal are down 42%.7,8 The Russian power sector’s emissions were 30% below 1990 levels in 2019, despite a higher level of total electricity generation. This is primarily due to an almost doubling in generation from nuclear, and a 94% decline in generation from oil.

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

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

3 Russian Federation. Strategy for the Socio – Economic Development of Russia with Low Greenhouse Gas Emissions until 2050. (2021).

4 IPCC. 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, Chapter 6: Wastewater Treatment and Discharge. (2006).

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

6 Government of Russia. Russian Federation 2021 Common Reporting Format (CRF) Table. (2021).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15 IEA. World Energy Balances 2021. (International Energy Agency, 2021).

16 Davydova, A. Business is decarbonizing on paper and in corporate reports. Kommersant (2021)..

17 Russian Federation. Russian Draft Energy Efficiency Action Plan 2020. (2020).

18 Climate Transparency. Russia – Climate Transparency Report. (2021).

19 Stolyarov, G. Moscow, capital of oil-rich Russia, targets electric car growth. Reuters (2021).

20 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.

21 Some pathways include sinks based on bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), thus this is a conservative estimate.

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

Russiaʼs current GHG emissions

MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values

By sector

  • Power
  • Fugitive emissions
  • Transport
  • Industry (energy use)
  • Buildings
  • Other
  • Industry (processes)
  • Agriculture
  • Waste
  • LULUCF
Energy (79%)⟵ LULUCF negative emissions

By gas

  • CO₂
  • CH₄
  • N₂O
  • Other
065%0

Sectors by gas

Energy
086%0
Agriculture
00
Industry (processes)
080%0

Energy system

Russia has prioritised the expansion of domestic fossil fuel extraction and consumption over the deployment of renewable energy sources, aiming for both an enlarged share of global coal and gas exports, and higher domestic consumption. Hydropower has long been a source of renewable generation in Russia making up 15% of total generation in 1990.7 However, the overall share of renewables in the Russian power sector has barely changed since, sitting at 17% in 2019, with 97% of this coming from hydropower.9

A lack of policy intent to encourage renewable energy uptake, coupled with ongoing support for fossil fuel production and demand, leaves Russia on a trajectory far from being 1.5°C compatible. Ramping up its investment in renewables, increasing its current 2024 target of 4.5% non-hydro renewables, and setting more ambitious long-term renewable generation targets could help Russia to change course. A 2019 commitment to increase support for renewables beyond 2024 is intended to catalyse the construction of 5.3 GW capacity between 2024 and 2035, to roughly double the capacity targeted for 2024, but this still remains far from what can be considered a Paris Agreement compatible pace.10

Targets and commitments

Economy-wide targets

Target type

Base year emissions target

NDC target

Unconditional target

  • 30% below 1990 levels by 2030 (incl. LULUCF).
  • 24% below 1990 levels (excl. LULUCF).11

Note: Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to 70% relative to the 1990 level, taking into account the maximum possible absorptive capacity of forests and other ecosystems and subject to sustainable and balanced social economic development of the Russian Federation.

Market mechanism

  • Market mechanisms are not specified.

Long-term target

  • Net zero GHG emissions by 2060.
  • 80% reduction below 1990 levels by 2050 (incl. LULUCF).

Sector coverage

EnergyTransportIndustryWasteAgricultureLULUCF

Greenhouse gas coverage

CO₂CH₄NF₃HFCsN₂OSF₆

Sectoral targets

Power

  • 2.5% of total electricity generation from non-hydro renewable energy sources by 2020.12
  • 4.5% of total electricity generation from non-hydro renewable energy sources by 2024.

Transport

  • 33% increase in rail passengers above 2008 levels by 2030.13
  • 16,000 km of new rail routes above 2008 levels by 2030.

Footnotes