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Despite Putin promises, Russia’s emissions keep rising

(Climate Home News, 12 Mar 2024) Citizens of the world’s fourth-largest emitting country are heading to the polls from March 15-17 in an election that is certain to guarantee Russian President Vladimir Putin another six years in office – and unlikely to help curb his country’s carbon pollution.

Early in his rule, Putin joked that 2-3C of warming might be good for Russia as its people would “spend less on fur coats”.

But more recently he has warned against rising temperatures, in 2015 calling planetary heating an “issue that shall affect the future of the entire humankind”.

He has set targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and get Russia to net zero – balancing any carbon emissions it puts out with CO2 absorption through forests or other solutions – by 2060.

But despite these pledges, Russia’s emissions have kept on rising, and its gas-heavy electricity mix has barely changed in Putin’s 24 years in power.

Mikhail Korostikov, a Russian analyst at Climate Bonds Initiative, an organisation that promotes low-carbon investment, told Climate Home that Putin “clearly does not [care about climate change]. It’s absent from his worldview. It’s not part of his agenda.” 

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Climate Home News, 12 Mar 2024: Despite Putin promises, Russia’s emissions keep rising