Putin faces Climate Lawsuit

First climate lawsuit against Russian government launched over emissions

Group of activists file supreme court case demanding stronger action on meeting Paris accord goals

By Waseem Mohamed, for The Guardian, 13 Sep 2022 05.49 EDT

“The first-ever climate lawsuit in Russia has been filed by a group of activists demanding that the the government take stronger action over the climate crisis.

“The group wants the Russian authorities to take measures that will reduce the country’s greenhouse emissions, in line with targets of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5C agreed under the 2015 Paris climate accords.

“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.

“However, to have a two-thirds chance of meeting the Paris climate goal, Russia needs to reduce its greenhouse emissions to 968 m tons of CO2 by 2030, which would be 31% of 1990 levels. By 2050, Russia plans to reduce its emissions to 1,830m tons of CO2, when under Paris targets the country should be emitting just 157m tons.

“The figures, taken from a report written by Mark Chernaik of the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide, warns of the devastating consequences that Russia faces due to climate change, ranging from severe health impacts due to recent heatwaves and outbreaks of vector-borne diseases, to increased exposure to anthrax disease and infrastructure damage due to melting permafrost.

“By taking the government to Russia’s supreme court, the group hopes it will “save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people”.

“Grigory Vaypan, the spokesperson for the group’s legal team, said: “The Russian government’s approach to climate change is irresponsible and contrary to its international law obligations.”

“For Vaypan, the case represents the need for “the court to recognise that these [climate] targets are manifestly insufficient to fulfil Russia’s obligation to mitigate climate change, and order the government to set new, Paris-compliant targets…”