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Russia’s Climate Plan Will Increase Emissions

October 18, 2015
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By Paul Homewood



As we get closer to Paris, let’s see what pledges Russia has come up with in its INDC, the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution or “Climate Plan” in short.


The UNFCC keep a database here for all plans so far submitted. This is their “unofficial” English translation.





A promise of 25% reduction from 1990 levels does not sound unreasonable, though less than promised by the EU. However, as ever, the devil is in the detail.

As we can see below, emissions of CO2 declined rapidly after 1990, with the shut down of huge swathes of old, inefficient Soviet heavy industry.

Emissions have actually been below the 2030 target since 1995, and have slightly increased since.





As with other countries’ plans, the commitments cover all GHG, not just CO2, but the detail in the Russian document suggests the other gases don’t alter the above picture significantly.

There is, as well, one other catch. Russia insists that the absorbing capacity of its forests is also accounted for in these targets. This is known as LULUCF, or Land Use, Land Use Change & Forestry.

The plan does not specify any numbers for this, but I think we can take it as a given that the inclusion of forests will be favourable for Russia.

The Climate Action Tracker website, which is keen to see maximum GHG cuts, apparently is not too impressed anyway!


 On 31 March 2015, the Russian Federation submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), proposing to reduce its emissions of net greenhouse gases (GHG) by 25% to 30% below the 1990 level by 2030. After accounting for forestry this is a reduction of only 6% to 11% below 1990 levels of industrial GHG emissions [1], and an increase of 30% to 38% compared to 2012 levels. Based on this target we rate Russia “inadequate”.


This is because forests there have turned into a carbon sink in recent years (presumably not chopping so many down now).


Either way, it is abundantly clear that, if the plan is carried through, there will be no reduction in Russia’s GHG emissions by 2030.

  1. October 18, 2015 8:13 pm

    And that’s why it’s good to be Russian!

  2. Bloke down the pub permalink
    October 19, 2015 9:17 am

    At least in this example of the Russians being unable to designate a proper target, and then hit it, they’ve not yet accidentally dropped anything on Iran.

  3. October 20, 2015 8:09 pm

    Emissions are a worrying subject, indeed, but I hope that in Paris they will also pay attention to the ocean and to human intervention in this field, which seems to have a big influence over climate, also…..

  4. michael hart permalink
    October 24, 2015 3:23 pm

    A bit less sea-ice should also increase the size of oceanic carbon sinks in Russia’s cold territorial waters.
    I wish they had said something like that, if only to witness the green apoplexy.

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