TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE

87% of Russia's energy generation is clean and climate friendly

Over the last 30 years, Russia has kept greenhouse gas emissions at 30%.

In Summary

• The Russian approach to combatting climate change is based on responsibility, consistency, and realism.

• Over the last twenty years, Russia's GDP has more than doubled while the emissions have remained roughly at the same level (around 30% below 1990).

Young climate activists shout on stage at the High-Level event on Climate Emergency during the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid, Spain December 11, 2019.
Young climate activists shout on stage at the High-Level event on Climate Emergency during the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid, Spain December 11, 2019.
Image: REUTERS/Susana Vera

In the wake of the recent Madrid Conference on climate and the heated debate that was accompanying it, I would like to take this opportunity to familiarise the Kenyan public with Russia’s contribution to curbing greenhouse gases emissions globally and our approach to climate change, which is undoubtedly one of the most serious challenges that humanity is facing today.

From the inception of the international climate process, Russia has always played an active and constructive role in it.

Russia is party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, and Paris Agreement.

The obligations that my country took upon itself under these global multilateral agreements have not only been fully implemented but overfulfilled.

Over the last thirty years, we have kept our greenhouse gas emissions at 30% below the baseline 1990 level, which, in physical terms, constitutes a reduction of 41 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Therefore, our performance in this field is among the best in the world.

The Russian approach to combatting climate change is based on responsibility, consistency, and realism.

Thus, we have managed to decouple economic growth from the increase of greenhouse gas emissions. Over the last twenty years, our GDP has more than doubled while the emissions have remained roughly at the same level (around 30% below 1990).

Key to that was technological progress and general “greening” of the economy. For example, in its current structure, Russia’s energy sector has become 87% clean and climate-friendly.

Only 13% of electricity is generated from coal, while the rest comes from natural gas, hydro, nuclear and renewable sources.

This figure is expected to improve further as a result of the planned expansion of the generation from solar, wind, geothermal, etc. renewable sources of energy.

Serious efforts are being deployed to improve energy efficiency in industry, housing, and transport. Additional effects are added by better waste management technologies, improved planning and organization of public transport in Russian cities.

A multi-billion national project “Environment” has been launched recently to create incentives for Russian business to implement the best “green” technologies to ensure environmentally friendly low-emission development.

Apart from it, we pay serious attention to providing assistance to developing countries to help them meet their own climate goals. Russia is a donor to the Green Climate Fund.

A special new multimillion-dollar Climate Window has been established in the Russia-UNDP Trust Fund for Sustainable Development to fund projects all over the world, including in Africa. Many of the projects funded from the Trust Fund, even if not directly dealing with climate change, have mitigation and adaptation components.

To conclude, I would like to draw the readers’ attention to the fact that Russia’s forests (22% of the global forest cover) make a colossal contribution to the sequestration of CO2 from the atmosphere thus substantially mitigating climate change.

Sustainable management of forests and reforestation remain an important part of Russia’s policies to address climate change challenge both nationally and globally.

The writer is the Russian Ambassador to Kenya.