Russia Subsidies

Russia–$14.4 billion in 2010

Generally, the federal government’s fossil fuel subsidies in Russia are complex and not transparent. Five years ago, an extensive research report “Government subsidies to oil and gas: at what costs?” was published with support of WWF and International Institute of Sustainable Development. This research summarized the possible subsidies schemes for oil and gas industries in Russia.

This research identified 30 schemes for granting subsidies to oil and gas producers in Russia at the federal level. These schemes included: direct support (state targeted financing, state loans on preferential terms, etc.), and indirect support—for example, the state’s acceptance of liability for compensation for damage as a result of accidents or the provision of public infrastructure facilities on preferential terms.

The study quantified 17 subsidy systems which amounted to a total of $8.1 billion in 2009 and to $14.4 billion in 2010. The ten largest federal subsidies for oil and gas production in Russia were as follows:

• Temporary benefits for export customs duty for oil produced on new deposits of Eastern Siberia (approximately $4 billion);
• Tax holidays for the mining tax for new deposits of Eastern Siberia (approximately
$2 billion);
• Exemption from property tax for main oil and gas pipelines (approximately $1.9 billion);
• Tax holidays for mining tax for new oil fields in the territory of Nenets Autonomous Okrug and on the Yamal Peninsula in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District (approximately $1.5 billion);
• Subsidized tariff for transportation of oil through the Eastern Pipeline System Siberia – Pacific Ocean (approximately $1.1 billion);
• Lowering coefficient to the rate of mining tax for oil of depleted deposits (approximately $1 billion);
• Temporary exemption from export customs duty for gas exported to Turkey through the Blue Stream pipeline (approximately $0.8 billion);
• Accounting for exploration costs and R & D for the purpose of calculating income tax (at least
$0.6 billion);
• Accelerated depreciation charges (at least $ 0.6 billion);
• State financing of geological exploration for hydrocarbon raw materials ($284 million).

For the moment, no significant actions regarding reducing governmental subsidies to fossil fuels has been implemented. The problem that goes along with significant subsidies to fossil fuels is that it affects tariffs, lowering them and making, for example, renewable energy development not profitable.

After discovering these aspects of the government paying subsidies, it appears to me that this issue raises more questions than answers.

Russia Survey

Almost half of the respondents see the problem of climate change as a warning to future generations. A third of the respondents think that this problem needs to be addressed now, and one out of every seven respondents believes that global warming does not pose a threat to anyone.

In April 2016, a survey was conducted by Public Option Foundation and the question asked was about the biggest current threats that worry the Russian population. The survey covered fifteen hundred respondents from 104 settlements in 53 regions. According to the survey, the biggest threats for Russian people were international terrorism and nuclear war (35%). The other answers included: the threat of contamination of water, air and products, waste (22 %), natural disasters (19 %), deforestation and mass epidemics (18 %). Only 12% of the respondents said that climate change was a worrying problem for them, however, it could be observed that some of the responses in the survey were related to climate change issues (deforestation, waste production etc.). When the same question was asked in 2015, 15% of respondents were concerned with climate change problems, probably because in 2015 there was lots of media attention devoted to the Paris agreement discussion and people were more aware of the problem.

Another interesting survey related to climate change was conducted by the initiative of a working group of the presidential administration of the Russian Federation in June 2013. The survey’s goal was to test awareness of the population as regards to climate problems.

The results of the survey revealed the following: 54% – the overwhelming majority of respondents knew about climate change, 36% of the respondents heard something about climate change and global warming taking place on the planet.

Among the respondents who believe that the planet is experiencing global warming, 33% believe that the reason for is human activity, and 42% believe that human activity and natural processes are equally important.

Almost half of the respondents see the problem of climate change as a warning to future generations.

A third of the respondents thinks that this problem needs to be addressed now, and one out of every seven respondents believes that global warming does not pose a threat to anyone.

About 40% of respondents believe that humanity already understands the importance of the problem of climate change, and 17% of respondents believe that people will never comprehend the gravity of this issue.

More than 40% of the respondents believe that climate change is a serious problem, however it should not be prioritized but rather treated equally with other important problems.

The majority of respondents (more than 70%) believe that the problem of climate change must be discussed at the international level. And, according to 45% of the respondents, Russia should play a leading role in this and make unilateral commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Slightly less respondents (36.7%) did not agree with this strategy. More than half of the respondents (53%) would support the introduction of economic incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Russia.

At the same time, every third respondent found it difficult to answer this question.

The survey also addressed the possibility of respondents giving up some benefits for the sake of climate protection. 41.4% of respondents were ready to take such a step, 40.6% were not ready to change their habits to reduce climate change impacts.

Among those who are ready to take some actions: 42% said they could change their transportation habits, for example, stop using a car, use public transportation, use the car less often”, start using more environmentally friendly gasoline. About 9% of respondents said they could refuse to use plastic and polyethylene packaging.

Also, respondents said they were ready to abandon the use of certain types of household chemicals, aerosol cans, incandescent lamps, batteries. At the same time, about 10% of respondents said that nothing would force them to give up on certain benefits and habits for the sake climate change mitigation.

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Russia Strategies

Russia: (a) Strengthen country’s Paris Agreement pledge; (b) Lessen reliance on forest absorption to backstop its NDC pledge

The Russian Federation has committed to reduce its emissions to the 70-75% levels of year 1990 by 2030 as of March 31, 2015. The pledge of 25-30% reduction seems to be an ambitious target, however there are two major caveats. First, the Russian pledge is based on the plan that GHG emission reductions will occur as a condition of the maximum possible account of their boreal forests’ CO2 absorption capacity. Second, after the year 1990 the Russian Federation experienced a significant decline in its industrial capacities due to the collapse of Soviet Union and therefore emissions reduced “naturally” because of economic crisis within the country and not because of any additional measures. Therefore, under the current conditions the achievement of 25-30% emissions reduction is possible even without taking any further actions. Moreover, when comparing current emissions levels to the levels of 1990 it appears that Russia can still increase its emissions and comply with the INDC pledge at the same time.

For every assessment, the most crucial step is a careful definition of the baseline against which further actions would be compared. According to the available information on the Russian Federation INDC pledge, it seems that the baseline has been poorly defined. This has created the fact that the Russian Federation does not need to implement any further actions to achieve the INDC pledge. Hence, undoubtedly the pledge of the Russian Federation should be revised. I believe there could be two main adjustments undertaken. First, the year for comparison could be updated for Russia. The baseline year for comparison could be shifted to the time after the collapse of the Soviet Union when industrial capacities were already down. Alternatively, the year could remain the same but the target percent of emission reduction could be increased so that it will require certain measures to be undertaken to achieve the target reduction. Second, the input from boreal forest absorbing capacity could be reduced in the pledge for the sake of stimulating other measures to reduce GHG emissions.

As described above, because of a poorly defined baseline for GHG emissions reduction, Russia has been in compliance with its INDC pledge and has been significantly reducing GHG emissions without any major action undertaken, if compared to the levels of year 1990.

Nonetheless, there is a list of measures that have been taken forward to reduce GHG emissions in Russia. For the moment, those measures are mainly focused on energy efficiency measures and the introduction of renewable energy sources. A focus mainly on the energy sector to reduce GHG emissions could be a tricky point to tackle because fossil fuels remain the major cheap source of energy in Russia. Even though renewable energy can undoubtedly have a significant positive influence on reducing Russia’s GHG emissions, it is not easy to convince industries to shift to renewable energy sources since fossil fuels are more cost effective.

Therefore, I believe it is important to highlight areas that could be beneficial both economically and environmentally and that there should be a demand for those actions from Russia’s population. Addressing the following two issues could help to reduce GHG emissions and be beneficial to Russia’s people, environment and economy:

1. Transportation: Russia is using mainly gasoline cars and cars with older engines. This causes smog and air pollution. In addition, the price of gasoline is raising continuously and this puts limits on the population regarding their use of cars. Hence, two kinds of regulations could be taken. First, higher standards could be put on cars’ engines to reduce air pollution and smog. Second, regulations that stimulate the use of electric cars should be put in place. Those two measures would be beneficial to the health of the population and would allow the country to reduce its GHG emissions.

2. Waste: Russia has significant amounts of waste that are not recycled and that are disposed of in their landfills. Landfills are the source of significant amounts of GHGs and reducing the number of landfills would reduce GHG emissions, reduce soil contamination and reduce negative health impacts on the population. More stringent regulation on waste recycling and reuse would allow reducing the amount of waste going to the landfill and hence reduce GHG emissions.

Russia Renewable Energy

Russia—No 100%2050 commitment
Benchmark: 11% by 2030

Historically, Russia has relied on fossil fuel sources of energy due to its large amount of natural reserves. Russia has the largest reserves of natural gas and one of the largest coal and oil deposits in the world. Russia’s budget heavily depends on fossil fuels which accounts for 35% of the federal budget revenue and 60% of exports. According to statistics, the main energy sources used in Russia are gas (43%) and coal (25%), whereas only 3.6% of total energy consumption comes from renewables.

There are several reasons for such a low ratio of renewable energy sources, including: high prime cost of renewable energy production as compared to fossil fuels, lack of national grid systems that would allow easy transfer of energy from its source, and the dominance of big oil and gas corporations on the market. Therefore, the process of the development of the renewable energy sector is complex and requires significant changes in various spheres of the Russian economy and industry.

Nevertheless, Russia has taken certain actions towards the development of their renewable energy sector. There was a government decree No. 449 of May 28, 2013 (as amended on February 28, 2017) “on the mechanism for stimulating the use of renewable energy sources in the wholesale electricity and capacity market”. Under this regulation, renewable projects are provided with a set of stimulus measures such as: removal of barriers when connecting renewable energy facilities to the larger energy network, refund of payment for technological connection, subsidizing interest rates on loans for development, and public funding for research and pilot projects.

According to Government Decree No.1472-R as of July 28, 2015, the amount of renewable energy generated in Russia will reach 6GW by 2024 (the reference standard scenario) and the share of renewable energy sources in the coming years should increase and reach 4.9% by 2030 (see table below).

Moreover, a positive case scenario (REmap) has been published by the International Renewable Energy Agency. It states that there is a possibility that the share of renewable energy generated in Russia will reach 11% by 2030 with the capacity of wind generation reaching 23GW, solar generation 5GW and bioenergy units 26GW.

The table above shows that the major focus in Russia in the localization percentage has been lowered from 65% to 40% as of 2017.

Renewable energy production locations are concentrated along Russia’s southern boarder due to the more favorable climate conditions found there and a better developed national grid in those regions.

Figure 1: Location of major Russian renewable energy sources (as of 2015)

At the moment, the biggest renewable energy project being constructed in Russia is by the Finish company Fortrum. It is a wind generation park located in the Ulyanovsk region with a capacity of 35MW (using Chinese units). This project is expected to be commissioned in the coming year.

Learn More

Renewable Energy Prospects for the Russian Federation (REmap working paper)
Development of renewable energy in Russia report
“Russia struggles to unleash clean energy potential”

Russia Success Project


There are currently 17 emission trading schemes and more than 40 different carbon compliance units in Russia. Nevertheless, there exists certain organizational constrains and obstacles that prevent a smooth carbon trading system, such as risks of double counting and a lack of transparency in emission trading exchanges.

There also has been no common platform that could unify different carbon exchanges. To address this issue, the Russian company, “Russian Carbon Fund,” has created a blockchain platform for carbon trading.

Blockchain technology is noted for its security since data are stored on hundreds and thousands of computers connected to one network. In order to crack the system, access is required to all of the linked computers, not just one. Moreover, blockchain guarantees transparent transactions as each action is recorded and stored in the system. The technology also reduces transaction costs and reduces time per transaction.

Russia’s environmentally focused blockchain platform is called the Decentralized Autonomous Organization—Integral Platform for Climate Initiatives (DAO IPCI). DAO IPCI is “decentralized and a fully independent public blockchain ecosystem based on smart contracts for any kind of environmental assets and liabilities.”


The DAO IPCI is a unique platform that ensures integrity and transparency of the process of carbon trading and excludes the risks of double counting of carbon units. DAO IPCI simplifies the process of carbon trading. This attracts investments in environmentally friendly technologies.

The DAO IPCI blockchain technology platform should be replicable by other countries. This project has drawn significant attention from the international community and it won an international Planet Tech competition. It has also been presented at the international conference ‘Collision’ held in New Orleans.

In March 2017, the first world carbon credit transaction was conducted using blockchain DAO IPCI. The Russian Carbon Fund purchased carbon credits from the African focused Aera Group. The acquired credits are intended to offset Russia’s carbon footprint.

The Russian Federation’s INDC proposes that by 2030 it will reduce its GHG emissions by 25% to 30% below its 1990 level (UNFCCC, 2015). The DAO IPCI blockchain technology platform will help Russia achieve this goal.

Learn More

Russia Carbon Fund official website:
Decentralized Autonomous Organization «Integral Platform for Climate Initiatives»:

Russia Checkup

Russia—Falling Behind

Russia is one of the countries with the largest carbon footprints due to its size but it has not yet ratified the Paris Agreement. However, an Action Plan for Improvement of State GHG Emission Regulation and Preparation for Ratification of the Paris Agreement was finally approved on November 3, 2016. A model for state regulation of GHG emissions is planned for release in December 2017.

In the past several years the Russian Federation has released several important state plans related to climate change, including  the Strategy for Environmental Safety of the RF from 2017 to 2025 (adopted on 19.04.2017) and a draft Energy Strategy of the RF for the period by 2035.

The Strategy for Environmental Safety prioritizes meeting the need for adaptation and mitigation of negative climate change consequences for the environment as one of Russia’s main tasks. However, a focus on the consequences of GHG emissions rather than on preventive actions, diminishes the country’s responsibility in respect to its GHG emissions reduction. The Strategy for Environmental Safety identifies tools for implementation of the state environmental safety policy that include naming the regulation of carbon emissions and preparation of a low-carbon and sustainable Long-term Economy Development Strategy. At the moment there is no further information on the possible practical steps to implement these suggestions.

The draft Energy Strategy aims at decreasing the negative impact from exploration, production, transportation, and use of energy resources on the environment, climate and public health.
The Russian Federation submitted its 2030 INDC on March 31, 2015, proposing to reduce emissions 25% to 30% below 1990 levels by 2030. Another long-term Russian emission reduction target was announced at the L’Aquila G8 Summit in 2009. It aimed  at cutting GHG emissions by at least 50% below 1990 levels by 2050.

Climate Tracker estimates that the target emissions levels that Russia’s INDC entails are 3.2 to 3.3 GtCO2e in 2030 (8–13% below 1990 levels, excluding LULUCF). These levels were calculated using the most recent projected emissions for the LULUCF sector in 2030 (Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation, 2015). The main assumption for this calculation is that Russia will use a net–net approach to account for the LULUCF sector, which would allow for much higher emissions in the target year compared to a situation in which the target excluded LULUCF emissions. This assumption arises from the INDC statement, according to which the 2030 target “is subject to the maximum possible accounting of the absorbing capacity of forests” (UNFCCC, 2015). This adds considerable uncertainty to the 2030 target emissions levels. Greater transparency around the accounting rules for the LULUCF sector in the INDC submission would enable us to calculate a more precise estimate of the emissions level (excluding LULUCF) in 2030 required for Russia to achieve its INDC target.

Learn More

Report on implementation of the RF’s Climate Doctrine for the period by 2020
Key provisions of the Energy Strategy
Review of the Strategy of Environmental Safety
Climate Tracker Analysis

Russia Emission Reduction Policy

Presidential Executive Order NO 752 On the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

This 2016 Russian Presidential Order provides an action plan to reduce the volume of greenhouse gas emissions to no more than 75% of 1990 baseline emissions by 2020. Organizations with emission volume of over 50,000 tonnes of CO2 per year will be responsible for presenting reports to the government on their emissions levels. This target is consistent with Russia’s INDC pledge to the Paris Agreement.  However, to have a likely chance of limiting global temperature rise to 2°C (3.6°F) and thus prevent some of the worst impacts of climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that emissions must peak in all regions by 2020. While not all countries will have to peak by this year, Russia is the fifth-largest emitter globally. It remains unclear when Russia’s emissions will peak, but from the numbers in its INDC, it appears likely to be after 2020. Without an earlier peak date, the rest of the world would have to make up the difference to maintain a likely chance of limiting warming to 2°C.

Russia hopes to develop by 2018 a national climate change adaptation strategy that addresses problems of permafrost degradation, sea level rise, increased rainfall and extreme weather events.
Currently, the Draft Russian Energy Strategy 2035 does not contain any progressive goals or objectives in regards to the obligations on decreasing GHG emissions. Rather its focus is on the relationship of the energy sector to Russia’s overall development.

Russia has yet to ratify the Paris Agreement.

Learn More

Analysis of the renewable energy development progress in Russia

Interactive map of renewable energy assets around the world with a legend in Russian:

Draft Power Strategy of Russia until 2035

Russia Extreme Weather Event

Upward Trend in Dangerous Climate Events

In Russia, the forecast and monitoring of dangerous weather or climate events are a part of the state monitoring and reporting system. On an annual basis, the Federal Service of Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring develops and issues a Report on Climate Peculiarities on the Territory of the Russian Federation with a brief analysis of the extreme and dangerous events.

The number of dangerous events (DEs) for the last 9 years is presented in the table below.

The figure below demonstrates the quantity of the dangerous events and complexes of events (including the hydrological and agrometeorological events) that caused significant damage to the economy and the population. The columns marked red shows the quantity of unexpected, unpredicted events. The overall trend line of the significant dangerous events is going strongly upward.

The most frequent dangerous events are heavy rainfalls and floods, forest and peat fires, and strong winds that help spread the fires. Most extreme weather events happen from May to August/ September each year, due to atmospheric peculiarities.

Weather events that have caused the most damage in the last 3 years include: In 2015, the extremely strong wind in the Republic of Khakasiya (up to 31 m/s) in a dry hot season led to extensive damage to grids, trees and some property, as well as fires in 1,371 private houses in which 23 persons died. In 2016, a heavy rain event in Rostov-on-Don led to a flood in the streets, washed out roads and sinkholes up to 5m2 and damage to 2 bridges. This caused severe damage to power grids and resulted in 6 victims hurt and1 death.

In order to ensure the safety of the population and territories against natural and technogenic emergency situations at the local, regional and national levels, the special centralized Unified Emergency Prevention & Response State System (RSChS) was created in Russia in 1992. The main objectives of the RSChS system are forecasting of emergencies; preparing the population to act in emergencies; elimination of emergencies and mitigation of their socio-economic impacts; and reserving  financial and material resources for emergency response.

Russia Media Organizations

The acute problems of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy efficiency related issues are widely discussed in the mass media in Russia. As the modern media react faster to trendy aspects of our life, the Internet portals and newsmakers are much more deeply involved and take more progressive positions on information dissemination than traditional print media or TV channels.

Broadcast Media

In comparison with the availability of climate change-related information via the Internet and the printed media, there is almost zero information on the Russian TV. There is just one RBC-TV channel (RBC developed “+1” project) with one program, Levchenko.Rakurs, which features climate change with a discussion of experts from time to time. All other mention of climate change on TV is occasional.
Print Media

At the moment there is no print media channel in Russia that is solely devoted to the climate change or sustainability issues. However, this issue often appears in several newspapers and magazines. These are the business newspapers Kommersant and Vedomosti that publish materials on carbon projects, GHG emissions assessment and regulation, energy efficiency and renewable energy, as all of this is related to business efficiency and obligations.

The magazine Egologia i Pravo (Ecology and Law) supported by NGO Bellona publishes articles on climate change and forest capacity, the Russian position on the Paris agreement and other relevant issues. The newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta (Independent Newspaper) regularly issues its thematic supplement NG-Energy with analytical articles by various authors.

There are several well-known experts who are active in climate change publications. They include, among others, Mikhail Yulkin (General Director of CCGS, LLC and Angelina Davydova, Head of Russian-German Bureau of Environmental Information and environmental journalist), Georgiy Safonov (Director of the Centre for Environmental Economics and Natural Resources of Higher School of Economics).
There are several print media that publish both positive and opposite opinions in respect to climate change. Such media as Regnum, Rossiyskaya Gazeta (Russian Newspaper) and Novyie Izvestiya sometimes include articles which neglect the facts on the climate change, or are about the relationship between GHG emissions and the changes occurring in the world climate.

Online Media

There are several interesting resources on the Internet that cover the environmental issues focusing on climate and renewable energy. The portal Kislorod.Life (“Oxygen.Life”) is an informative channel with easy and clear navigation using hashtags. There are a lot of articles about Russian climate change specialists as well as regular overviews of international news on the subject. Another special portal is the Klimat Rossii (“the Climate of Russia”) aimed at informing the community about Russian climate policy, carbon projects, and improvement of climate change public awareness.

At the end of 2016, a special Internet project +1, was created by the largest Russian media groups TASS, Kommersant and RBC. Each of the participants has developed a special section on their sites devoted to social investments and communications. This is an unprecedented joint move in the Russian mass media uniting efforts of significant players in promoting environmental and social responsibilities. The Project, +1, is supported by the Association of Members of Social Investment and Social Communications. The Project will help to create a special united space for communications within business circles, the state and authorities, institutional and education organizations, NGOs and the community.

The best journalists, reporters, business representatives, experts, and bloggers write their articles on environmental and social issues for this project, and many of these articles are related to climate change and energy efficiency. +1 Internet sites are already recognizable and well-known by the general public.
There are also special energy and high technology related portals that frequently publish articles and overviews on renewable energy and technologies related to sustainable development and climate change. They are RenEn, EnergyFresh and Hightech.

Environmental NGOs such as the Russian Social Ecological Union and Bellona regularly publish thematic articles and news on their sites and play their own important role in improving awareness by the general public about climate change issues.

Russia Subnational Best Practices


Yamalo-Nenetskyi Autonomous Okrug Region (YaNAO)—YaNAO is a region well known for its active and regular work for reduction of GHG emissions since 2008. The YaNAO Government developed and is implementing the Action Plan for GHG emission reduction by 2020, which is aimed as well at creation of effective tools for air pollution reduction and decrease of energy intensity of the regional economy. The GHG management system was developed at the regional level, including the monitoring and control of GHG sources and emissions. As a result, GHG emissions have gradually decreased since 2008. The recent achievement is the decrease of GHG emissions from 30.5 mln.t of CO2 in 2012 to 25.2 mln.t of C02 in 2014. There are many climate change initiatives that are being implemented in YaNAO such as:
•    Forecast and assessment of global climate changes in the Arctic zone;
•    Development of climate models and provision of monitoring programs;
•    Promotion of a gas-fuel transport;
•    Construction of gas-fired power plants with waste heat recovery;
•    Development of wind farms:
•    Promotion of rational use of associated gas (in 2014 9.2 bln.m3 of associated gas were produced and 92% of this amount was used effectively);
•    Support of the industrial pilot projects aimed at GHG emissions.


Moscow—Moscow’s GHG emissions are controlled in the framework of a Carbon Disclosure Project, and they are increasingly reduced year by year. The priorities are given to the transportation streams and parking management, modernization of infrastructure, development of environmental standards for trucks and vehicles and awareness raising.


The first association of regions was created for fighting climate change in the Baltic Sea area, consisting of Murmanskaya Oblast, Arkhangelskaya Oblast, Republics of Komi, Kareliya and Nenetskyi Autonomous Okrug. The have joint action plans for collaboration and development of climatic strategies in the region of the Barentsevo sea.

At the moment there is no information on another associations of cities, states or regions in respect to the climate change in Russia. It seems to be the next step which the most active cities or regions will have to undertake in order to improve their efficiency further.