Like many other countries, Russia is a bad student of the climate. In order to improve its image from an ecological point of view, the country has developed a controversial plan. The idea is to take advantage of its immense forests as part of the establishment of a “carbon credit market”.
A plan for the world’s largest forests
With regard to major forest fires or the melting permafrost, Russia is one of the countries most threatened by climate change. Yet she is also far from being a good student when it comes to ecology. These include, for example, its significant exports of fossil fuels and natural resources. A few years ago, we were talking about his “Floating Chernobyl”, a floating 21,500 tonne nuclear power plant. Lately, another affair has caused a stir: the presence of some 20 Soviet-era submarines and nuclear reactors in the Kara Sea.
In general, Russia is facing criticism for its lack of ambition in the fight for the climate. Nonetheless, the country has a plan to refresh its image, details of which can be found in an article published by Bloomberg March 23, 2021. Russia wants to take advantage of its immense forests covering no less than 815 million hectares. These are the largest forests in the world ahead of those in Brazil.
Skepticism is in order
The taiga (boreal forest) partly makes up these wooded areas, which nevertheless represent a fifth of all the forests on the planet. Russia therefore wants to highlight them as a contribution to ecological efforts. For Bloomberg, this plan consists in making these forests a kind of market place for companies seeking to offset their carbon footprint. In fact, Russian forests face a lack of maintenance, but also overexploitation. This laxity is also partly responsible for the fires of 2020 in Siberia. The objective is therefore to rent forest areas to companies so that the latter maintain them and plant new trees. In exchange, the state offers these companies carbon credits.
Obviously, this kind of carbon credit trading system arouses skepticism. Besides the obvious controversy of this same system, Russia does not seem to want to question its own carbon emissions, a shame for a country known to be a very polluter. Russia should however rely on renewable energies, new technologies as well as energy efficiency. Forest development is indeed a possibility, but it should only serve as a complement. And when we know that several companies working in particular in the field of hydrocarbons and petrochemicals have shown interest in the Russian plan, there is nothing to be optimistic about.