Vladimir Putin posed an ambitious challenge on Wednesday. The Russian president said at an energy forum in Moscow that “in practice, Russia will strive to achieve carbon neutrality in its economy”. “We have set a concrete target – no later than 2060,” he added, showing himself to be more ambitious than he had ever been just over two weeks before Cop-26. It is also the same objective as China.
The daily Kommersant revealed in early October that the Russian government was preparing a new environmental strategy with stronger measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to this plan unveiled by the Russian newspaper, Moscow would aim to reduce its emissions by nearly 80% by 2050, in particular by gradually abandoning coal as a source of electricity in favor of more nuclear energy, among others.
A late interest in environmental issues
Russia is one of the main producers of hydrocarbons in the world, and a country where environmental issues only appeared late in official speeches. With much of its economy based on mining, it approaches environmental goals less head-on than its European neighbors.
Vladimir Putin was once known for his “climate-skeptical” positions, arguing in particular that Russia would benefit from climate change. The Russian president has, however, revised his copy since, being alarmed in particular by natural disasters, such as the fires that ravaged the country this summer. This year, Vladimir Putin also participated in a summit organized by US President Joe Biden, and expressed his interest in “establishing international cooperation” on climate change.