President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree calling on the Russian government to work towards compliance with the 2015 Paris Agreement to combat climate change. However, he stressed that all measures must be reconciled with the need for strong economic development.
Russia, the world‘s fourth largest greenhouse gas emitter, previously signaled its approval of the deal, despite environmentalists criticizing Moscow for avoiding mandatory emissions targets for companies that are fined.
In a decree published on Wednesday, a public holiday in Russia, Putin officially ordered the government to work towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30% below 1990 levels by 2030.
That, Putin said, would mean harnessing the ability of forests and other ecosystems to absorb such gases.
Putin’s order came with a major caveat. He said that any action to reduce emissions must take into account the need for stable and balanced socio-economic development and urged the government to develop and ratify a socio-economic strategy by 2050 that takes into account lower emissions.
An earlier draft of such a strategy was criticized by green groups for allowing emissions to go up before they go down.
Climate change poses a major challenge to Russia, whose economy is heavily dependent on oil and gas production and mining. Part of this infrastructure is based on permafrost, which is prone to rising temperatures.
Putin, who has questioned whether human action is the only driver of warming climate cycles, has called himself a defender of the environment.
He has praised the Paris Pact in the past while saying that countries would need to modernize industry, which would likely cost billions of dollars for large corporations and result in job losses, an option he had to see fit.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)