Russian climate experts have criticized Vladimir Putin’s decree to cut greenhouse gases as a “zero number”.
“That is a pretty weak goal because it has already been achieved,” said the climate expert for the environmental organization Greenpeace, Vasily Yablokov, on Thursday. Putin issued a decree on Wednesday to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to up to 70 percent of 1990 levels by 2030. According to Jablokow, the goal has already been exceeded.
In 2018, the level of greenhouse gas emissions was just 52.4 percent of the 1990 level, he said. According to Putin’s decree, Russia could even increase its greenhouse gas emissions. Yablokov said:
Unlike other countries, Russia is not taking the necessary steps to switch to a carbon-free economy, despite the fact that the president has repeatedly pointed out the seriousness of climate change. The raw materials superpower, which lives mainly from its gas and oil resources, is one of the countries with the highest emissions of carbon dioxide.
Russia must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 60 percent of the value from 1990 to 2030 in order to make a serious contribution to the fight against climate change and normalize its own economy, said Yablokov. Greenpeace did not give absolute figures.
Putin’s decree fell on the day on which the US exit from the Paris Agreement of 2015 officially took effect. The agreement of the United Nations provides for global warming to be limited to two degrees Celsius, if possible even to 1.5 degrees. As the largest country in the world, Russia is feeling the consequences of climate change not only through the thawing of permafrost soils, but also through annual temperature records, massive forest fires and floods.