Key Actors in International Climate Cooperation
Edited by Guri Bang, Arild Underdal and Steinar Andresen
Chapter 7: Russia’s climate policy
The prospects for significant policy change towards decarbonization are low in Russia due to the lack of environmental concern, in particular over the impacts of climate change, the interpretation of the post-Soviet emission decline as a climate effort, and the dominance of the economically vital fossil fuel sector. The main emission reductions are likely to originate from cutting energy waste and modernization rather than focused mitigation policies. However, the abundance of domestic fossil fuels, the unfavourable investment climate and the weakness of the policy implementation system obstruct these policies. Nevertheless, Russia’s domestic goal to limit GHG emissions to 75 per cent of the 1990 level by 2020, which never deviated much from the business-as-usual emissions trend, is likely to be achieved more easily than expected due to the current negative economic prospects. Even though the political conflict with Ukraine has destabilized President Putin’s power, and an overthrow of the Putin regime seems less unrealistic than a year ago, climate policy is unlikely to change due to the lack of public demand for stronger measures. At the international level Russia is likely to wait and see how other major emitters will play their cards in Paris in 2015 before deciding on its participation in a new climate agreement.
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