The concept of “forest climate projects” will be introduced into legislation

The Russian government has prepared amendments to the Forestry Code, which introduce the concept of “forest-climate projects.” Such projects are designed to increase the ability of forests to absorb greenhouse gases and help our country become carbon neutral by 2060. This was stated by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers.

Mikhail Mishustin, Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation: “The President has repeatedly spoken about the need for a phased and thoughtful transition to green energy. In many ways, our country solves the problem of reducing greenhouse gases thanks to forests that absorb them. To improve work in this area, we will adjust the current legislation.".

The new amendments introduce a definition of the concept of “forest climate project”: these are projects implemented both on forest fund lands and on lands not related to them, and aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing their absorption. A forest-climate project may include measures to protect forests from fires, protect against diseases and pests, reproduce forests and afforestation. The law is expected to come into force in 2025.

To implement forest climate projects, the contractor will need to enter into an agreement with Rosleskhoz, which will exercise federal state forest control. The contractor may, at his own expense, involve other organizations in the implementation of the project, including federal and municipal institutions.

Olga Kalyuzhnaya, President of the Russian Timber Association: “The provisions of the bill make it possible to resolve issues related to the long-term nature of forest climate projects. Within five years, the contractor will be required to enter information about the project into the appropriate register. At least once every five years it will be necessary to present the results of monitoring the project implementation parameters. The implementation period of the forest climate project can be up to 15 years with the possibility of extension up to two times.”.

The implementation of forest climate projects is a logical development of the Strategy for Socio-Economic Development with Low Greenhouse Gas Emissions until 2050, approved in 2021. By 2060, Russia should become a carbon neutral country, that is, emissions should be equal to the absorption of greenhouse gases - the President of the Russian Federation stated this at the G20 leaders’ summit in 2023.

Despite the fact that the regulation of forest climate projects has not yet been finalized, the first such projects are already being created. For example, Rosneft, Uralchem, and Sibur announced the start of forest climate projects. In September 2022, information about the first climate project to be independently verified for compliance with legal standards was entered into the Russian register of carbon units. This is a project in the Sakhalin region, the implementation of which should ensure the absorption of 1.5 million tons of greenhouse gases over the next 75 years.