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Russia Wants to Use a Forest Bigger Than India to Offset Carbon

The world’s biggest energy exporter—and home to billions of trees—is coming under international pressure over emissions ahead of United Nations climate change talks later this year.

Primorye Territory, Russia in pictures

Photographer: Yuri Smityuk/TASS/Getty Images

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Much of Russia’s Far East is so vast and remote that it’s mostly been left to the bears, wolves and rare breed of tiger that live there. Now the Kremlin wants to use it to convince the world that the country is doing its part to fight climate change.

Russia, the world’s biggest energy exporter and one of its largest polluters, is creating a digital platform to collect satellite and drone data about the CO₂ absorption capacity of the region’s forests. The aim ostensibly is to monetize an area nearly twice the size of India by turning it into a marketplace for companies to offset their carbon footprint.