Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 01/2010

Russian pledge vs. business-as-usual: Impelementing energy efficiency policies can curb carbon emissions

Aleksandra Novikova, Anna Korppoo, Maria Sharmina

December 2009

Finnish Institute for International Affairs


In June 2009, President Medvedev announced that the Russian Federation could limit its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions growth to -10 to -15% by 2020, compared to 1990 levels. In August 2009, this commitment was confirmed by the Russian delegation as Russia’s midterm target. Russia further committed to limiting emissions by 22-25% in comparison to the 1990 level by 2020 in the EU-Russia Summit in Stockholm in November. In 2007, Russian GHG emissions were 34% below its emissions in the Kyoto base year, 1990. As a result, both Russian pledges allow generous headroom for emission growth. Medvedev’s original pledge would have translated as a roughly 30-35% emissions growth from the 2007 level by 2020, while the current offer corresponds to a 14-18% increase of emissions during the same period. Further, the global economic downturn, which took hold during the second half of 2008, has continued to decrease Russian economic activity in 2009. The Russian GDP development has been negative in 2009; according to the Bank of Finland Institute for Economies in Transition, during January-September the Russian GDP had declined by 10.4%.1 Furthermore, Russian industrial production fell 14% in January-August 2009, in comparison to the corresponding period in 2008.2 This indicates that Russian GHG emissions have most likely declined since 2008; although verified data is not yet available, Russian experts have estimated that Russian emissions may have fallen to some 40% below 1990 levels during 2009.