Analysis: Ambiguous Russian climate pledge mystifies many

1 April 2015

Russia submitted a pledge to limit its emissions to the UN yesterday, simultaneously surprising and confusing many in the world of climate change.

Few had expected Vladimir Putin's government to meet the UN's loose 31 March deadline for "intended nationally determined contributions" - the series of national pledges that will, in part, form the basis of an international climate change agreement in Paris later this year.

Delivering its pledge just hours after the US, the Russian Federation left many baffled with its vaguely worded targets.

"Limiting anthropogenic greenhouse gases in Russia to 70-75% of 1990 levels by the year 2030 might be a long term indicator," the unofficial translation of the submission says - in other words, a 25-30% reduction on 1990 levels.

But there are caveats. Unlike other countries that have pledged, Russia says its final decision is contingent upon the outcome of the UN climate negotiations, along with the INDCs of other major emitters.

It also says that its target include accounting as generously as possible for carbon dioxide absorbed by its vast boreal forests.

Read more from The Carbon Brief