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Regular version of the site

Article

Carbon emissions embodied in Russia's trade: implications for climate policy

Review of European and Russian Affairs. 2017. Vol. 11. No. 2. P. 1-20.

According to the current international climate change regime, countries are responsible for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that result from economic activities within their national borders, including emissions from producing goods for export. At the same time, imports of carbon-intensive goods are not addressed by international agreements, including the Paris Agreement that was adopted in 2015. This paper examines emissions embodied in Russia’s exports and imports based on the results of an input-output analysis. Russia is the second largest exporter of emissions embodied in trade and the large portion of these emissions is directed to developed countries. Because of the large amount of net exports of carbon-intensive goods, the current approach to emissions accounting does not suit Russia’s interests. On the one hand, Russia, as well as other large net emissions exporters, is interested in the revision of allocation of responsibility between exporters and importers of carbon-intensive products. On the other hand, both the commodity exports structure and relatively carbon inefficient technologies make Russia vulnerable to the policy of “carbon protectionism,” which can be implemented by its trade partners.