Welcome to the Earth.Org Global Sustainability Index, where Earth.Org examines the policies and actions regarding the environment of every nation on earth. Combining the most respected global indexes on pollution, climate change, policy, energy, oceans, biodiversity we have produced an overall Global Index, which will be updated annually. The is the Global Sustainability Index scorecard for Russia.
While Russia ratified the Paris Agreement in October 2019, this decision was largely symbolic, as it did not come with improvements to its very weak emissions reduction targets, or any new climate policies. It is likely to meet its Paris targets, because they are so weak; they do not require a decrease in GHG emissions from current levels, nor do they require the government to develop a low-carbon economic development strategy.
Its government acknowledges that the country is particularly vulnerable to the climate crisis, however it chooses to divert its attention to the perceived economic advantages of the crisis.
According to estimates from Climate Action Tracker, Russia’s currently implemented policies will lead to emissions of between 2.1 and 2.2 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2020 and roughly the same in 2030, which is 0-2% above 2017 emission levels. This is a decrease in emissions from 1990 levels of 32-33% in 2020 and 31-33% in 2030, all below the country’s targets, which allow emissions to grow 16–23% above 2017 levels by 2030.
- Russia is the 4th largest global emitter of GHGs as of 2016. They ratified the 2019 Paris Agreement but their targets do not require a decrease in emissions, nor the adoption of a low-carbon development strategy. The current NDC allow them to increase emissions 8–27% above 2015 levels by 2020 and 18–25% by 2030.
- Prior to this, a climate legislation introduced in December 2018 was aiming to impose emission quotas and penalise big polluters. The proposition was gutted by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs who lobbied for a five-year emissions audit instead.
- The climate crisis is expected to have severe consequences for Russia. Some of these are the spread of infectious diseases, more droughts, flooding, wildfires and permafrost thaw. However, the Russian Federation is focusing on the advantages that will come in the form of improved transport of goods in the Arctic seas, and increased productivity in the boreal forests.
You might also like: Global Emissions (2016)
Biodiversity, Policy: Sachs, J., Schmidt-Traub, G., Kroll, C., Lafortune, G., Fuller, G. (2019): Sustainable Development Report 2019. New York: Bertelsmann Stiftung and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
Oceans: Halpern, Benjamin S., et al. “An index to assess the health and benefits of the global ocean.” Nature 488.7413 (2012): 615-620.
Pollution: Wendling, Z. A., Emerson, J. W., Esty, D. C., Levy, M. A., de Sherbinin, A., et al. (2018). 2018 Environmental Performance Index. New Haven, CT: Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy. https://epi.yale.edu/
Climate Change: Climate Change Performance Index; Jan Burck, Ursula Hagen, Niklas Höhne, Leonardo Nascimento, Christoph Bals, ISBN 978-3-943704-75-4, 2019
Energy: Enerdata –World Energy Statistics – Yearbook.