Russia joined the Paris Agreement in 2019 and committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 70-75 percent of the 1990 emission levels by 2030. However, in 2017 Russia's greenhouse gas emissions were only at 68 percent of the 1990 emission levels due to the economic downturn in the 1990s. Hence, Russia's envisaged targets have already been met, and emissions can even be increased. For the time being, the implementation of the Paris Agreement does not imply high costs for Russia.
The share of renewable energy sources in Russia's power balance is currently very low, at about 1 percent. Moscow is looking into increasing the potential of renewable energy sources. It is also carrying out a state program of targeting energy saving and increasing energy efficiency, which is a key factor in reducing the energy intensity of the GDP as well as emissions. This area of activity can form an important base for cooperation with the EU.
One important incentive for the greening of the economy and for fostering economic collaboration with the EU is Russia's growing integration in the global economy and the necessity for Russian companies to comply with international standards. This is particularly the case with companies that operate in the global market and work in "dirty" industries (such as oil, metallurgy, transport, wood and paper, etc.).
The introduction of climate policy measures in other countries (standards, subsidies for the producers of renewable energy and other measures) will lead to a reduction in demand for traditional energy goods. This will threaten Russian exports, as the share of carbon-intensive industries continues to exceed 60 percent. The EU plans to introduce border carbon adjustments to countries with no emission reduction targets. The harmonization of environmental standards with the EU's norms would be highly beneficial for Russia.
At the same time, many problems persist in Russia's environmental policy: Environmental issues are still not a priority in Russia's economic policy and the interests of resource-intensive industries remain dominant. There is a lack of cooperation between the state, private businesses and the public on the development of key environmental laws. Attention payed to environmental education is still insufficient, although the level has recently increased. Environmental programmes are chronically underfunded due to economic problems.