New analysis shows that Russia’s climate plans are largely falling flat. Even though Russia positions itself as a climate leader internationally, the implementation of carbon neutrality target outlined in its Low-Carbon Strategy is mainly based on an unrealistic plan to increase forest carbon absorption by 1 gigatonne. Scientific data, however, shows that Russia’s forest carbon sinks will actually decline, making the goal unachievable without additional measures.

The policies introduced by the 2021 Law on Limiting Greenhouse Gas Emissions – companies’ obligatory reporting of emissions and the so-called carbon projects – fail to initiate such additional measures which would generate real emission reductions. Alleged emissions reductions are not verified by an independent third party and ignore ‘additionality’ — an international practice which ensures that business-as-usual emission reductions are not credited under projects.

The authors of the study call such policies, which are not meant to reduce emissions or even to be implemented, “imitational climate policy”. Instead, the country’s climate policies are used to justify unmitigated greenhouse gas emissions from its fossil fuel-dominated economy, the report Russian Climate Strategy: Imitating Leadership published by the research network Climate Strategies finds.

The research report warns Russia’s remaining partners against the fallout of its empty climate promises: giving Russian carbon credits access to foreign emissions trading systems threatens their integrity. Authorities in Russia’s enhanced trade partnerships with countries in Asia and the Middle East should recognize the risks related to building links from their emerging emissions trading systems to the Russian climate projects. Anna Korppoo, Research Professor at Norway’s Fridtjof Nansen Institute and lead researcher of the study, says: “climate cooperation with an aggressor would be questionable and make little sense given Russia’s disinterest in real emission reductions.”

“Anyone considering linking a national emissions trading scheme to the Russian ‘carbon projects’ – against all the geopolitical and historical odds – should maintain rigorous criteria for such linkages to require Moscow to develop a transparent and effective regulatory system, which generates additional emission reductions”, Korppoo explains.

Russia is currently the world’s fourth largest greenhouse gas emitter behind China, the US and India. The research follows earlier analysis of the economic and social impact of Western sanctions on Russia’s fossil fuel-producing regions.

Notes to the editor

  • Climate Strategies commenced a project on Russian Energy Transitions in December 2021. Following the start of the Russian War in Ukraine in February 2022, we determined to continue the project to maintain insights in the rapidly evolving Russian energy sector. This project was conducted with a group of experts in fossil fuel transitions and climate policy. However, a number of our experts appear under pseudonyms to protect their identity, as expressing critical views on Russian government policies incur personal risk.

  • Climate Strategies works at the science-policy interface, advancing climate policy through meaningful interactions between decision-makers and researchers across Europe and internationally. We are an international, not-for-profit research network with an expansive network of world-leading researchers as members. Find out more at