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Russia’s New Low Carbon Plan–Increase Emissions by 30%!

March 30, 2020

By Paul Homewood


Five years ago, we began to see the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs, which detailed each country’s plan for reducing (or otherwise!) their greenhouse emissions.

These plans covered the period up to 2030, and were part and parcel of the Paris Agreement.

Coronavirus permitting, nations are supposed to be updating these plans this year, ready for COP26 in Glasgow this November.

As my analysis showed in 2015, most INDCs actually planned for increases in GHGs and not reductions.

I doubt whether we will see much change this time, certainly not if Russia’s provisional plan is anything to go by:


Fossil fuel-rich Russia has for the first time set out a greener economic path for the coming three decades, in a long-term, low-carbon development plan released this week.

It pledges to cut planet-warming emissions by a third by 2030 from 1990 levels, when the heavily industrial Soviet Union collapsed, although that represents an increase in Russia’s greenhouse gas pollution from today.

Climate experts said the strategy and 2030 target were not ambitious enough but did signal growing political and business interest in tackling climate change in an economy that is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of oil, gas and coal.

Under the plan, Russia would not become carbon-neutral until late this century — and only if it implements the cleanest growth scenario outlined.

Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development published the draft strategy Monday, which will now be reviewed by other ministries and business associations before being submitted for government approval by executive order.

The document, almost 70 pages long, outlines four main scenarios for Russia’s low-carbon development through to midcentury.

“This strategy draft is the first comprehensive attempt of the federal government to look into Russia’s economic development trajectory toward 2050 climate goals,” said Mikhail Rasstrigin, Russia’s deputy minister of economic development.

“Importantly, it sets specific goals for the key areas where the bulk of energy efficiency effects could be reaped,” he added. According to the plan, those areas are industry, buildings, energy generation and transport.

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries agreed to develop long-term, low-emission development strategies. So far, a U.N. database lists 15 such documents, including from the European Union, the United States, Germany and Japan.

Russia, the world’s fifth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, after China, the United States, the EU and India, did not officially join the Paris Agreement until September 2019.

In Russia’s new strategy, the “basic” scenario — which it deems to be the most feasible — shows emissions growing from now until 2030, climbing about 30 percent from 2017.

The 2030 projection still represents a 33 percent cut on 1990 levels. Emissions today, including forest carbon stocks, are already about 50 percent lower than at the end of the Soviet Union, which saw a shift away from a heavy industrial economy.

The new 2030 emissions reduction target will be announced as part of the country’s updated climate action plan due to be submitted to the United Nations later this year, and represents an increase in ambition from its previous goal of a 25 to 30 percent cut.

Russia’s emissions will be curbed over the next decade through measures including energy efficiency, the introduction of a carbon price, development of renewables and nuclear energy, less clear-cutting of forests and enlarging protected areas.

But that will be offset by higher economic growth and a significant decline in the ability of forests to absorb and store carbon due to wildfires, illegal logging and their rising age, the plan shows.

But, the strategy adds, the carbon intensity of the Russian economy — how much carbon it emits per unit of gross domestic product — is expected to drop by 9 percent in 10 years and by almost half by 2050 from the 2017 level.

The basic scenario does not foresee carbon neutrality by 2050, although emissions are forecast to start declining after 2030 to reach 36 percent below 1990 levels by midcentury.

If the government opts for an “intensive” approach, however, emissions could be cut by 48 percent by 2050, with Russia becoming carbon-neutral late this century, the plan noted.

Greenpeace Russia said the strategy was welcome but “modest,” adding the measures were not enough for Russia to make an “adequate contribution” toward a global goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times.

scale and speed of Russia’s transformation toward a green future,” he added


So the plan is:

1) Increase emissions by 30% between now and 2030.

2) Reduce emissions by 5% between 2030 and 2050.


That should save the planet!!

Russia’s emissions of CO2 are about five times that of the UK’s.

  1. Immune to propganda permalink
    March 30, 2020 5:57 pm

    I’m perhaps naiively hoping that now we are living in a real crisis called Coronavirus that imaginary ones like climate change will be relegated to history…..

    • saparonia permalink
      March 30, 2020 6:11 pm

      The next real crisis will open your eyes to the present imaginary one and so on. When the shit hits the fan you can’t see wood for trees. Everyone carries virus’s and there’s a lot of money gained by testing for one in a pandemonium. Climate is changing as it always does and always has, and we carry virus’s as we always do and always have.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      March 31, 2020 9:09 am

      Sadly I no longer think this is a real crisis. As with Climate Change, we seem to be reacting hysterically to data that is useless and which so far doesn’t justify our econony-destroying actions. More computer models with worst-case assumptions.

      • March 31, 2020 11:19 am

        in 5 months ,38,000 deaths worldwide from Corona virus.

        One flu season in the UK in 2018 killed 50,000.

      • Robin Guenier permalink
        March 31, 2020 2:15 pm

        It’s true that Covid-19 may (we don’t know yet) turn out to have a death rate no worse than flu. But there’s a difference: whereas the effects of flu happen over many months and current NHS capacity can (just about) cope, it seems likely (from experience in China and especially Italy and Spain) that with Covid-19 there’ll be a big spike in cases concentrated over just a few weeks – putting enormous, additional and potentially ruinous strain on an already stretched NHS. That’s why this is an exceptionally serious event.

  2. Broadlands permalink
    March 30, 2020 6:07 pm

    Every country will be adding emissions simply because no country can stop using fossil fuels instantly. As each one begins to reduce their use, the remaining fuel will still be added in declining amounts until the net-zero goal is reached. By that time the atmosphere could be 500 ppm or more. But, as the covid-19 virus is showing rather clearly, drastic rapid reductions create global social and economic havoc in transportation alone. Renewables don’t move people or the goods and services they need. The entire scheme needs restructuring with a slow careful transition to renewables instead. A phasing out.

    • March 30, 2020 10:24 pm

      Greenhouse gas is a fake concept, so all the ppm numbers are useless.

  3. tom0mason permalink
    March 30, 2020 6:16 pm

    Meanwhile in the UK government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
    (DEFRA) …

    Personal secretary: Well minister you have to agree that the Russian’s have come-up with a remarkably clever plan.
    Minister: Indeed but I wonder why we never thought of it?
    Personal secretary: I think it’s because our brains are too highly developed for such low level thinking, minister.

  4. Terry permalink
    March 30, 2020 6:19 pm

    Given that carbon dioxide emissions do not come from the use of fossil fuels but from temperature changes in the world`s oceans the Russian plan is very acceptable. Terri Jackson Msc MPhil Climate physicist

    On Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 5:21 PM NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT wrote:

    > Paul Homewood posted: “By Paul Homewood Five years ago, we began to see > the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs, which detailed > each country’s plan for reducing (or otherwise!) their greenhouse > emissions. These plans covered the period up to 203” >

  5. Pancho Plail permalink
    March 30, 2020 7:11 pm

    I am sorry not to be serious, but as I was glancing through my emails and I was stopped in my tracks by misreading Paul’s title for this piece as “Russia’s New Low Corbyn Plan”.

    • Adam Gallon permalink
      March 31, 2020 8:57 am

      Well, Corbyn does attract lows, low votes that is!

  6. Stuart Brown permalink
    March 30, 2020 7:47 pm

    There’s this too, though:

    Unfortunately paywalled, but you can get the gist.

    • Sobaken permalink
      March 31, 2020 12:44 pm

      Nuclear growing from 203 TWh to 260 TWh is rather underwhelming, compared to previous claims by Rosatom that they could meet up to half of electricity demand by the middle of the century.
      The “draft strategy” also envisions non-hydro renewables growing from 1 TWh to 55 TWh, which is a bit concerning. The resulting mix would be 21% nuclear, 17.7% hyrdo, 4.4% other renewables, and the remaining 56,9% is coal and gas.

  7. jack broughton permalink
    March 30, 2020 9:07 pm

    The Russians have learned from China and India that any junk will be welcomed by the idiots behind the INDCs. As the “Yes Minister” bit above shows, the UK is far too clever to make such foolish promises……… much cleverer to ruin industry and live in luxury!

  8. Sobaken permalink
    March 31, 2020 6:35 am

    For anyone interested, the actual document can be downloaded as pdf from here:
    Scenarios details start at page 47.

  9. Phoenix44 permalink
    March 31, 2020 9:07 am

    Ah yes, Christian Aid. What’s it got to do with them?

  10. Robin Guenier permalink
    March 31, 2020 9:29 am

    Paul: according to the EDGAR database (, Russia emitted 2355 Mtons in 1990. A 33% cut on that is 1578 Mtons, i.e. 10% less than 2018’s 1748 Mtons. In other words, the report is incorrect: cutting emissions ‘by a third by 2030 from 1990 levels’ means a slight reduction and does not represent ‘an increase in Russia’s greenhouse gas pollution from today’.

    • March 31, 2020 9:58 am

      I think EDGAR only includes emissions from fossil fuel use, cement etc. It does not include LULUCF (land use, forestation etc)

    • Sobaken permalink
      March 31, 2020 10:52 am

      In the report they cite 2017 emissions to be 1578 Mtons and project emissions to grow to 2077 Mtons in 2030 and then fall a little to 1993 Mtons in 2050 in the baseline scenario. For the “greener” scenario it is 1996 and 1619 Mton in 2030/2050 respectively. All the numbers include LULUCF. Pages 52-56 have graphs with the breakdown of projected emissions by sector, where you can see that all sectors except energy will have increased emissions by 2050.

    • March 31, 2020 11:41 am

      This is what the UNFCCC have got:

      Click to access arr2018_RUS.pdf

      See Annex I

      Excl LULUCF, latest emissions in 2016 were 2643 Mt, about 70% of 1990 levels of 3734 Mt.

      Russia’s new plan is to cut by 27% excl LULUCF

      Incl LULUCF is even worse. New target is a cut of 33%, but 2016 was already 49% lower than 1990

      • Sobaken permalink
        March 31, 2020 12:28 pm

        The numbers the Ministry of Economic Development uses are quite different, they have 2156 Mton excluding LULUCF in 2017 in their document, rather than 2643 Mton in 2016 according to this UNFCCC report.
        Regardless, all the proposed targets (and the numbers in the article above) include LULUCF, which does indeed represent emissions growing from 51% (1578 Mton) of 1990 value (3113 Mton) to 67% (2077 Mton) by 2030 and falling slightly to 64% (1993 Mton) by 2050.
        If you didn’t count LULUCF, the emissions would stay pretty much the same as in 2017, at 2125 Mton in 2050 in their baseline scenario. Their intensive scenario then would see a cut to 1487 Mton, which is 31% lower than in 2017, but it’s highly unlikely it’s ever implemented.

      • March 31, 2020 2:53 pm

        are the MED numbers juts for CO, or all GHGs?

      • Sobaken permalink
        March 31, 2020 2:58 pm

        All GHG (CO2 equivalent)

      • Robin Guenier permalink
        March 31, 2020 3:22 pm

        Sobaken: do the MED numbers (‘All GHG (CO2 equivalent)’) refer to something different from EDGAR’s ‘CO2 emissions from fossil fuels combustion and processes’?

      • Sobaken permalink
        March 31, 2020 3:56 pm

        Robin Guenier: all GHG will include CO2, but also methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, various refrigerants, etc. Gasses other than CO2 are scaled to their warming potential relative to CO2. They count made man emissions only, obviously.

      • Robin Guenier permalink
        March 31, 2020 4:41 pm

        Sobaken: I think EDGAR’s reference to GHG emissions probably means exactly that. Note: it says, ‘Global GHG emissions are dominated by fossil CO2‘. Is that also true re the MED numbers?

      • Sobaken permalink
        March 31, 2020 10:12 pm

        Robin Guenier: They do not break it down by gas. However, Russia has very high CH4 emissions, compared to some other countries, due to fugitive gas in resource production. You can see exactly that in UNFCCC numbers posted above, where out of a total of 2643 Mton in 2016 CO2 was 1668 Mton, and CH4 was 856 Mton, while other gasses are each <100.

  11. C Lynch permalink
    April 1, 2020 6:40 pm

    It’s the Russians who are enemies of the West and therefore they will always be given a fools pardon by the Leftists who control the CAGW movement

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