Putin says Russia will target carbon neutrality by 2060

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russia will seek to become carbon neutral within four decades, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday, marking a stunning reversal in his stance on climate change. 

“We set a specific aim here –  no later than 2060,” Putin said in his speech at the Russian Energy Week conference in Moscow. His pledge is the latest in a string of national green commitments being announced ahead of United Nations-sponsored climate talks that kick off in Glasgow, Scotland, at the end of the month.

Russia, one of the world’s leading producers of oil and its fourth-biggest greenhouse-gas emitter, has so far resisted international pressure to slow global warming, and Putin has until recently dismissed the risks posed by rising temperatures. The nation ratified the 2015 Paris climate agreement two years ago but took little action until Putin ordered the development of a carbon strategy in June. He signed a climate law in July creating a framework for green projects and development of carbon trading.

Most large economies aim to eliminate their emissions by 2050. Only China, which still counts itself as a developing country, also has a carbon neutrality goal of 2060. Putin’s comments were the first official confirmation that Russia might finally take steps to start moving its economy away from fossil fuels.

The plan was under consideration earlier this month, a person familiar with the situation said last week. Russia is also weighing a pledge to cut net carbon dioxide emissions by 79 per cent from 2019 to 2050, according to a carbon strategy draft seen by Bloomberg News. The document is currently under discussion by ministers, the Economy Ministry’s press service said. It may change before the Glasgow talks.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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