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Russia's First Climate Lawsuit

Updated: Sep 27, 2022

Russia's first climate lawsuit was filed in its Supreme Court last week by activists demanding that Russia take urgent steps to radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to meet its obligations under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Russia's coat of arms

Whilst Putin's attention is no doubt focused on other ventures, this lawsuit is reportedly the first of its kind to be accepted by a court in Russia. Two organizations - Ekozashita (Eco-defence) and the Moscow Helsinki Group, Russia's oldest human rights organization, which was founded by Soviet dissidents - and 18 individuals are listed among the plaintiffs.

Individual plaintiffs named include Arshak Makichyan, a climate activist and associate of Greta Thunberg, and human rights activist Pavel Sulyandziga.

Russia, along with the United States, is one of the world's biggest per capita emitters of greenhouse gases, but the lawsuit says authorities have made insufficient efforts to slow climate change, reports Reuters. Indeed, who's aware of anything that Russia is doing to reduce its carbon emissions? Some would say, his only positive contribution is driving Europe towards a greener future faster than originally planned. But Russia signed the Paris Agreement, so it has obligations.

Russia has made two major climate pledges: a presidential decree under which by 2030 greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced to 70 percent of their 1990 level, and a Russian government decree under which by 2050 emissions should be reduced to 20 percent of their 1990 level.

The activists demanded the cancellation of those decrees and the setting instead of more ambitious targets.

They said that by 2030, greenhouse gas emissions in Russia should be cut to 31 percent of 1990 levels, and that by 2050 they should not exceed 5 percent of 1990 levels.

"Only by following these targets can Russia meet its obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement," the activists said.


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