First climate lawsuit demanding Russian government stronger emissions targets


First climate lawsuit demanding Russian government stronger emissions targets


Activists filed Russia’s first-ever lawsuit in the Supreme Court on Sep.13, demanding the government take stronger actions on emissions reduction to meet its obligations under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Russia is the fourth biggest producer of carbon emissions worldwide, and its average temperatures have risen twice as fast as the global average. The country’s emissions are predicted to reach 2,212m tons of carbon dioxide by 2030.

Renowned for its brutal winter, Russia is warming up in a dangerously fast pace, said the activists.

However, Russian authorities have made insufficient efforts to slow climate change, the lawsuit states.

“While temperatures around the world have risen by about 1°C compared to pre-industrial levels over the past 50 years, in Russia they have risen by 2.5°C and this ratio will continue or even worsen in the future,” says the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs include two organizations— Eco-defense (Ekozashita) and the Moscow Helsinki Group, Russia's oldest human rights group created by Soviet dissidents, as well as 18 individuals. They said the lawsuit was the first of its kind to be accepted by a Russian court.

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

The activists demanded Russia set more ambitious climate targets, saying that Russia needs to reduce 31% of its 1990 level by 2030 and should not exceed 5% of 1990 level by 2050.

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

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