BASEES Annual Conference 2022

Pilot Region Sakhalin: Window-dressing or real chance to become a trendsetter in Russian climate policy?

Fri8  Apr03:00pm(20 mins)
CWB Plenary


Benjamin Beuerle


For most of the time, Russia´s climate policy has not earned a reputation of being very ambitious. As late as 2020, months after the ratification of the Paris Agreement, the Russian government has made abundantly clear in various documents and statements that it doesn’t consider any phaseout of fossil fuel extraction and exports – but wants to raise them further. By contrast, there are clear signs that the international decarbonization trend is not ignored by Russian decisionmakers. The most striking example is the Far Eastern island of Sakhalin that has been singled out by the Russian government and regional authorities in 2020 as a pilot region for various climate policies. Beyond the introduction of a cap and trade system and of various measures for a more sustainable traffic and energy production, the official aims include the extremely ambitious goal of Sakhalin´s complete decarbonization by 2025! The present paper sets out to have a closer look on the various measures and the timetable foreseen to set this goal into practice and asks to which extent there is a real chance for Sakhalin to reach its aims and to become an important trendsetter for Russia. For this purpose, regional and national newspaper articles will be analyzed. In addition, a some interviews with various actors and experts are planned. The emerging picture should give a glimpse into Russia´s chances to join the international decarbonization trend.