Russia, one of the world’s largest producers of oil and gas, is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2060, according to President Vladimir Putin.
“In actuality, Russia will aim towards carbon neutrality in its economy,” he stated at a Moscow energy conference.
“And we set a deadline of no later than 2060.”
In terms of the world’s future energy market, Putin said, “The importance of oil and coal will diminish.”
While the Russian president has long been known for his pessimism regarding man-made global warming, he has recently altered his tune, Moscow Times writes.
The promise to achieve carbon neutrality follows an earlier ambitious move in June, when Putin directed his administration to create a strategy to reduce carbon emissions to levels lower than those of the European Union by 2050.
“The world requires educated, responsible actions by all market players — both producers and consumers — focused on the long term, in the interests of all our nations’ sustainable growth,” Putin said on Wednesday.
“Russia is prepared for such constructive and close collaboration,” he said.
The daily Kommersant reported earlier this month that the Russian government was working on a new environmental policy that would include tougher measures to decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
“The revised goals mark a major change from Russia’s previous plans, which would have seen emissions rise until 2050 and not reach net-zero until as late as 80 years from now,” said Katie Ross, a World Resources Institute specialist.
According to her, Russia is one of the world’s major polluters, and the country’s “new long-term strategy is critical for the world’s efforts to quickly reduce emissions and prevent the worst effects of climate change.”
On Tuesday, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said that it is difficult to “artificially eliminate conventional energy sources.”
Russia is now the fourth-highest carbon emitter, and opponents believe the country is doing far too little to address the problem.
Many experts believe that Russia, particularly its Siberian and Arctic areas, is one of the nations most vulnerable to climate change.