bneGREEN: Russian government approves carbon neutrality by 2060

bneGREEN: Russian government approves carbon neutrality by 2060
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.
By bne IntelliNews November 3, 2021

Russia's Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced the signing of the 2050 Low Carbon Strategy, previously drafted by the Ministry of Economic Development and taking an "intensive" trajectory that implies carbon neutrality by 2060.

As followed by bne IntelliNews, in October the ministry adopted a revised greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction strategy, setting the carbon neutrality deadline at 2060 and choosing an "intensive" scenario as the main proposed policy guideline.

Despite the warnings from the Finance Ministry that carbon neutrality would lead to a "catastrophic" drop in oil demand, President Vladimir Putin has supported a net-zero 2060 goal.

The strategy sees cutting GHG emissions by 60% by 2050 from the level of 2019 and by 80% from the level of 1990, eventually achieving carbon neutrality by 2060. Russia's GHG emissions would rise 5% from the 2019 level by 2030 to reach 1.67 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent, before plunging to 0.63 gigatonnes by 2050. The EconMin will present an action plan based on the strategy within six months. 

"The approval of the Low Carbon Strategy was an awaited development, and it is positive that carbon neutrality has now not only officially been announced, but is part of the document," VTB Capital (VTBC) commented, while still noting that the strategy still contains a slower "inert" scenario.

"The approved numbers are less ambitious than those cited in the draft of the strategy in terms of reducing emissions by 2050, although the country will reach net zero by 2060," Sberbank CIB commented.

The target "intensive" scenario will require investments to reduce GHG emissions of about 1% of GDP in 2022–2030, and up to 1.5-2% of GDP in 2031-2050. The decarbonisation plans include adoption of low- and carbon-free technologies, encouraging the use of secondary energy resources, changes in taxation, customs and fiscal policies, and development of green finance. 

There are also measures to preserve and increase the absorptive capacity of forests and other ecosystems, and support technologies for capturing, using and utilising GHGs. Previously heavy reliance on natural absorption that has yet to be recognised internationally was seen as an Achilles' heel of EconMin's GHG strategy.

"The numbers also suggest a more than twofold increase in carbon absorption by the country's natural carbon from current levels," Sberbank CIB noted.

The analysts at Sberbank CIB commented that the numbers indicate that Russia will rely on absorbing carbon at its natural carbon sinks while cutting domestic fossil fuel usage by less than other countries, while seeing no short or medium-term implications.


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