Lukoil: Forests, Marshes Vital for Russia’s Green Future

A 2035 outlook from energy company Lukoil says Russia’s vast forests and marshes should play an important role in decarbonization efforts, according to Prime news agency.

This week, as the European Union unveils legislation binding the bloc to lower emissions to ‘net-zero’ by 2050, much attention is being paid to what exactly this net-zero target means.

Climate considerations get more attention in this updated outlook, with a particular focus on how future emissions could be abated through forestry in order to meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“Afforestation is an important area for reducing CO2 emissions,” said Leonid Fedun, Lukoil’s vice-president for strategic development, presenting the report at a EURACTIV event in Brussels. He pointed to a project in the Lower Volga flood plain, where planting 33 million Paulownia trees has the potential to pull 1 million tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere.

“Planting paulownia trees near our Volgograd refinery would capture up to 30t/Ha of CO2 per year and produce valuable wood, feed, and biofuels,” he said. “But in the EU, I think there is skepticism about this topic.”

The idea behind a net-zero target is to reduce emissions as much as possible, and make up for the rest by sucking carbon out of the atmosphere – for instance by planting forests or burying emissions underground using carbon capture and storage technology.

The European Union isn’t the only one thinking about how continued emissions could be abated. In September, Russia formally joined the Paris Agreement, highlighting the role its vas forest areas can play in storing CO2.

“Russia is making another colossal contribution to combatting CO2 emissions and CO2 sequestration which is not reflected in the contributions but is a crucial factor in this effort,” said a Kremlin spokesperson at the time.

“These are Russia’s boreal forests which are the lungs of the planet,” said the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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