Climate Doctrine 2.0: Find the differences

Despite the fact that experts found inaccurate wording in the new text, in their opinion, the fact of its appearance records that Russia is still puzzled by the climate agenda. Adopted in late October 2023, the Climate Doctrine of the RF  at first glance looks very similar to the document that has been in force since 2009.


As follows from the accompanying note, the Climate Doctrine is a system of views on the goals, basic principles, tasks and mechanisms for the implementation of a unified state policy on issues related to climate change and its consequences, and is the basis for the development and implementation of climate policy.

The new document, like the previous one, recognizes “the impact of human activity on the climate against the background of its natural variability, which leads to significant, mainly adverse consequences for humans and the environment”, and effective climate policy is recognized as “a factor of dynamic technological modernization of the country’s economy”.

The text of the Climate Doctrine-2023 mentions the strategic planning documents developed after the adoption of the first version: “Strategy of socio-economic development with low greenhouse gas emissions until 2050”, “Energy Strategy for the period until 2035” and others.
Experts found in the new document different figures for limiting greenhouse gas emissions from the previous ones. And this caused a discussion about their interpretation. However, it turned out that the new document fixes the previous goals

According to Mikhail Yulkin, CEO of CarbonLab, it might seem that the new document aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 70% of the 1990 level. In fact, if we take into account that in the year of setting the target, emissions were 48% of the 1990 level and subtract the amount of absorption in the forest sector, the wording actually means that emissions could rise by 2030 by more than 40% of current levels.


Climate Doctrine-2023 for the first time fixes the concept of “carbon neutrality”, which is planned to be achieved by 2060. According to the experts of the Project “Earth is Everyone’s Business”, energy efficiency and renewable energy should make a significant contribution to its achievement. It is planned that the share of renewable energy in electricity generation will increase from 1% of the share of electricity to about 20% of the current volume or to 12.5% of the volume planned to be produced in 2050.

It also envisages a halving of the share of coal and a significant increase of nuclear and gas generation in the electricity sector (by 71% and 17% respectively).

But in general, the Climate Doctrine assumes that the country’s fuel and energy complex will continue to rely on fossil fuels. On the one hand, this may ensure the stability of energy supply, but on the other hand, it will not contribute to a green technological transition in the energy sector - experts believe.


Among the new in the document: among the main objectives of climate policy was added “the creation of regulatory and economic mechanisms to stimulate the reduction of emissions and increase in removals, as well as the adoption of measures to ensure the implementation of climate projects”.

While the updated doctrine, like the previous one, recognizes the human impact on the climate in the form of greenhouse gas emissions, it adds mention of the “positive” effects of anthropogenic climate change: lower heating costs for buildings and easier access to the Arctic for commercial research due to melting polar ice.

The authors of the Climate Doctrine-2023 emphasize that Russia plays a significant role in global efforts to mitigate the negative effects of climate change and is an active participant in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.

At the same time, it is stated that “unjustified discrimination in the adoption of measures to combat climate change affecting international trade” is inadmissible. This probably refers to the introduction of the European Carbon Frontier Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM).

Experts wonder why the key goal of long-term climate policy is to achieve carbon neutrality, but not to limit climate change and its negative impact on the Russian population. That is, the country’s main climate document still lacks goals for adaptation to climate change.

Analysts call it an alarming fact that the original text of the Climate Doctrine excludes the statement that the anthropogenic impact on the climate is “primarily related” to emissions “from the burning of fossil fuels.” Some see this as a signal for the upcoming climate summit in Dubai, where agreements to reduce fossil fuel use will be an important theme.

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