New Russian energy law leaves CO2 cuts uncertain
John McGarrity

Russia has adopted an energy efficiency law likely to be key to the country’s efforts in cutting CO2.

parliament, the Duma, this week adopted the Federal law on energy
conservation, which aims to set up a framework to promote energy

The law aims to encourage medium and large power
plants and factories to invest in technologies that use less energy per
unit produced.

But it remains to be seen to what extent the
new regulation will be enforced, making it difficult for observers to
assess the regulation’s effect on carbon dioxide emissions.

general it would be difficult to calculate its effect (on cutting
emissions) due to the uncertainty of its implementation,” said Anna Korppoo, an analyst of Russian climate policy at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.


to Russian news reports, the law aims to offer tax benefits and other
financial incentives for Russia’s heavy industry to replace highly
energy inefficient machinery and equipment.

Also, the new law
will to try to encourage lower use of electricity and heating in
business and residential buildings – a major source of wasted energy in
Russia – through the use of compulsory meters.

And incandescent lightbulbs will be phased out from 2014.

much of Russia’s highly-polluting industry shut down following the
collapse of communism, many of the factories and power plants that
remained are still highly inefficient compared to the new technologies
in use in many developed countries.

Russia is one of the world’s major emitters thanks to its huge oil and gas industry.

country’s large population, concentration of energy intensive
industries such as metals and mining and extreme climate also
contribute to the country’s status as a heavy energy user.


capita emissions in Russia are around 11-12 tonnes per person, higher
than many richer countries, according to various estimates.

Kokorin, a Moscow-based climate campaigner with environmental group
WWF, said the energy efficiency law was likely to play a major role in
Russia’s proposals to curb its emissions when targets are discussed at
UN climate talks in  Copenhagen.

But given that the regulation
passed by the Duma this week is a framework rather a law that would be
zealously enforced, it would be hard to say how much the energy
efficiency iniatitive would cut emissions from business-as-usual.

has undertaken to keep emissions 10-15 per cent below 1990 levels by
2020, which effectively would mean growth of 10-15 per cent in
emissions from 2005 levels by the end of the next decade.

This is because Russia’s emissions are currently 30 per cent below its Kyoto target.