Russian parliament approves law to curb greenhouse gas emissions

Russia is the world’s biggest exporter of natural gas and second larger exporter of oil

Leonie Chao-Fong
Wednesday 02 June 2021 14:34 BST
A man walks near the heat electropower station and Stalin’s tower building in Zaryadye park in central Moscow
A man walks near the heat electropower station and Stalin’s tower building in Zaryadye park in central Moscow (YURI KADOBNOV/AFP via Getty Images)

Russia is one step closing to passing a law that would limit greenhouse gas emissions in a move that has been described as the country’s first step towards carbon regulation.

On Tuesday Russia’s lower house of parliament approved a bill that would oblige companies that produce large quantities of greenhouse gases to report their emissions.

The bill is now awaiting approval by the upper house of parliament and President Vladimir Putin, Reuters has reported.

Russia formally joined the Paris climate agreement in 2019 and Mr Putin has previously spoken about being “genuinely interested” in international cooperation to solve the climate crisis.

But the country – the world’s biggest exporter of natural gas and the second biggest exporter of oil – has faced criticism for shunning compulsory emissions targets for companies.

Vladimir Burmatov, chair of the parliamentary committee on ecology and environmental protection, said the bill was the first step towards carbon regulation in the country.

The move comes a month after Moscow’s climate envoy, Ruslan Edelgeriyev, described the near-universal rush to propose new curbs on greenhouse gas emissions as “an unreasonable race”.

Speaking with Reuters, Mr Edelgeriyev said countries should rather concentrate on meeting commitments already made.

Russia’s priority was deeds and not words, he said.

In April while addressing world leaders at the White House climate summit, Mr Putin said he had ordered his administration to “significantly cut the accumulated volume of net emissions” by 2050 in Russia – but refrained from giving a specific emissions-reduction target.

He said: “Russia is genuinely interested in galvanising international cooperation so as to look further for effective solutions to climate change as well as to all other vital challenges.”

The Russian leader also touted his moves to mitigate climate change, claiming the country had halved emissions since the 1990s and highlighting the “almost zero” greenhouse gases from its nuclear power facilities.

He added the country was beginning to pilot projects on carbon pricing and trading.

Russia takes its commitment to international agreements “very seriously”, including the Paris Accords to reduce global emissions, he claimed.

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