Responding to climate challenges

The Center for Strategic Research in cooperation with the analytical center of the Fuel and Energy Complex of the Russian Energy Agency of the Ministry of Energy prepared a report on why Russia needs a climate policy. Russia needs to move to active measures of climate policy and support the competitiveness of the Russian economy - these are the conclusions reached by experts of official research centers and this is what has been repeatedly stated by representatives of public environmental organizations.

The report “Russia’s Climate Agenda: Responding to International Challenges” can currently be called one of the most comprehensive documents describing the trends of climate processes taking place in Russia and the international arena. The authors define the objectives of the document: to assess the challenges that external factors pose to the Russian economy and to propose directions for further development.

Experts emphasize: Russia is among the largest global emitters of greenhouse gases - about 5% of total greenhouse gas emissions, which leads to increased attention in the international arena to its climate goals and policies. It is noted that Russia’s national climate policy has been developing quite slowly against the international background, and its development entered an active phase in the 2010s, with the adoption of the Climate Doctrine of the Russian Federation in late 2009.

The report provides detailed information about the situation in the world, including an analysis of the climate policies of the states forming the international climate trends. The document contains tables with data on the status of statements about carbon neutrality of the countries of the world, plans to abandon fossil fuels, abandonment of internal combustion engines, and a ban on the exploration and extraction of fossil fuels.

Experts conclude that low-carbon plans of countries, regions, and companies lead to the narrowing of markets for Russian traditional energy resources. Tightening climate regulation and its impact on fossil fuel production and consumption patterns are seen as a major investment risk.


According to the report, “the main challenge for Russian exporters and the Russian budget, in addition to the fact of the introduction of cross-border EU carbon regulation, is that Russia is one of the few European exporters without any system of carbon pricing and carbon footprint accounting.”


It is the strengthening of the international agenda that representatives of the Center for Strategic Research call the driver of development. The established understanding of the main causes of climate change leads to a transformation of the business environment in the world, conclude the authors of the report.

Climate change poses challenges to Russia’s economy in two areas: the need for internal adaptation to climate change and the need to respond to increasing external climatic constraints. And if, according to experts, the first direction, because of serious challenges (melting permafrost), is already in the spotlight, the second direction, “the ground is not yet ripe.” The authors of the report consider “not ready” representatives of the fossil industries and the population: “it should be noted that, due to the leading role of traditional energy resources in the Russian economy and the unreadiness of most of the population to increase spending for the sake of climate conservation (according to surveys), there are quite a few internal prerequisites for strengthening the climate agenda.”


“It is essential for Russia to move to proactive action in terms of climate policy measures and focus on supporting the competitiveness of the Russian economy,” the report concludes.  In an economy where traditional energy resources play a leading role, experts consider the most difficult to agree on medium- and long-term guidelines for national climate policy, which should outline directions for the transition to a low-carbon development path.


Among the specific areas proposed: the introduction of a national system of reporting and monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions, creating conditions for the implementation of voluntary initiatives to reduce them, analysis of alternatives to carbon pricing, improving accounting, protection of the forest fund and others.

According to experts, the system of carbon reporting will provide up-to-date information on greenhouse gas emissions at the regional and sectoral level, as well as modeling and forecasting the effects of climate policy and climate risks. 

According to experts, since Russia is among the largest emitters, more attention should be paid to highlighting the efforts undertaken by the country, outlining existing limitations, further intentions, and looking for opportunities to promote climate initiatives that would be in the national interest. This should contribute to Russia's image as a climate-responsible country.

Most of the conclusions of the report are close to the position of representatives of public environmental organizations, in which representatives of the Russian Social and Ecological Union (RSoEU) emphasize that Russia needs to adopt a regulatory and methodological framework for the formation and implementation of climate plans of the subjects of the Russian Federation and municipalities. At the same time, environmentalists consider it important to develop a policy that will not only create an image of Russia as a climate-responsible country but also lead to a real reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.