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MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Russia -- one of the world's biggest producers of oil and gas -- is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2060.

"Russia in practice will strive for carbon neutrality of its economy," he said at an energy forum in Moscow.

"And we set a benchmark for this -- no later than 2060."

Speaking about the world's future energy market, Putin added: "The role of oil and coal will decrease."

While the Russian president was notorious for years for his scepticism about man-made global warming, he has changed tune in recent months.

Putin vows Russia will fight climate change

The carbon neutrality pledge follows an earlier ambitious step in June, when Putin ordered his government to develop a plan to cut carbon emissions to below the level of the European Union by 2050.

"The planet needs informed, responsible actions by all market participants -- both producers and consumers -- focused on the long-term, in the interests of the sustainable development of all our countries," Putin said Wednesday.

Russia is currently the fourth-highest emitter of carbon, and critics say the county is doing far from enough to tackle the crisis.

According to many scientists, Russia -- especially its Siberian and Arctic regions -- is among the countries most exposed to climate change.

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