Russia: The 2021 Climate Year in Review

Russia: The 2021 Climate Year in Review


  • Law on Limiting Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Strategy for the Socio-Economic Development of the Russian Federation With Low Greenhouse Gas Emissions Until 2050 (Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation #3052)
  • A Commitment to Achieve Carbon Neutrality by 2060
  • Russia Joined the Glasgow Climate Pact and Signed a Global Agreement to Stop Deforestation by 2030



Climate change in Russia is happening faster than in the rest of the world, and in 2021 the country began to take active measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to rising temperatures.

With that said, key climate policy documents were adopted this year, some of which had been in development for the past several years.

  • The first such document was the law “On Limiting Greenhouse Gas Emissions”, prepared by the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation and adopted by the State Duma of the Russian Federation in July 2021. The law provides for the introduction of a phased model for regulating such emissions, according to which large Russian companies will be forced to report on greenhouse gas emissions.

The new law also introduces the concept of a “target indicator for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” It will be established by the government based on the level of the Russian economy. It takes into account the absorptive capacity of forests and other ecosystems and the need to ensure the sustainable and balanced socio-economic development of the country. The law also provides for the right of legal entities and individual entrepreneurs to implement climate projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions or increasing their absorption, and also provides for the creation of a register of greenhouse gas emissions. This will be a state information system, maintained by an authorized federal executive authority. The procedure for creating and maintaining the register will be established by the government.[1]

  • Also adopted in 2021 was the “Strategy for the Socio-economic Development of the Russian Federation With Low Greenhouse Gas Emissions Until 2050,” and at the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin set a course to achieve carbon neutrality of the country no later than 2060. The strategy proposes strengthening the national goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and using economic incentive tools for companies to reduce their impact on climate change.

According to the strategy, the baseline scenario assumes a reduction in the carbon intensity of GDP by 9% by 2030 and 48% by 2050 (from the level of 2017), as well as a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by a third by 2030 (from the level of 1990).

(3) Another important outcome of the year was the successful coordination of further steps to combat climate change at the international level during the Glasgow Conference (COP26) and, in particular, the adoption of rules for the operation of market mechanisms under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.

As a result of its participation in the summit, Russia clearly outlined its future steps in combating climate change, presented its strategy for socio-economic development with low greenhouse gas emissions until 2050 and joined the Climate Pact approved by more than 200 countries.

Russia’s latest climate goal is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. The low-emission economic development strategy presented at the Glasgow Summit is an important step, and its implementation will lead to a reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%; these efforts still seem insufficient to achieve the goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius, since the strategy in its current form will not keep warming at this level. The main achievement of Russia was the agreement signed at COP26, which stops deforestation by 2030.

However, the original plan of complete abandonment of coal was replaced by a softer one. The phased abolition of coal burning has been replaced by a phased reduction in coal burning.  At the same time, the main opponents of the tougher formulations were not Russia, but China and India — both countries are leaders in coal consumption, including those supplied from Russia. In addition, Russia has also not signed a document on the transition to more environmentally friendly energy sources, and has not committed to limiting methane emissions by 30% by 2030.

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Russia Country Manager Michael Oshchepkov

[1] The President signed the Federal Law “On Limiting Greenhouse Gas Emissions. The official Internet representation of the President of Russia. URL:


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