Russia publishes plan for climate change

Russia publishes plan for climate change
Photo: Chief Yeoman Alphonso Braggs, US-Navy

Moscow is ready to recognise global warming as a problem, but it also sees “positive” economic effects and possibilities, according to a recent document prepared by the Russian government. Researchers say that Russia is warming 2,5 times faster than the planet’s average, which is especially important given the country’s vast Arctic territories and infrastructure built over permafrost.

Last week, the Kremlin announced a plan to adapt Russia’s economy and population for climate change, says AFP. According to the document published on the government’s website on Saturday, changes to the climate have had a “prominent and increasing effect” on socioeconomic development, people’s lives, health and industry. Thus, Russian authorities aim to mitigate damage but also take advantage of warmer temperatures.

Climate change poses risks to public health, endangers permafrost and increases the likelihood of infections and natural disasters, reads the document. Moreover, it can lead to species being pushed out of their usual habitats. The Kremlin’s plan includes 30 measures such as dam building, switching to more drought-resistant crops and crisis preparations including emergency vaccinations or evacuations in case of a disaster. The government is also going to prepare new educational materials to teach climate change in schools and calculate the risks of Russian products becoming uncompetitive and failing to meet new climate-related standards. However, the plan envisages possible “positive” effects of global warming such as decreased energy use in cold regions, expanding agricultural areas and navigational opportunities in the Arctic Ocean.

Swedish climate campaigner Greta Thunberg in European Parliament, April 2019. Photo: European Parliament

Researchers say that Russia is warming 2,5 times faster than the planet as a whole. The country is especially vulnerable to climate change due to vast Arctic regions and infrastructure built over permafrost. Over the last few years, it has seen floods and wildfires that have been among the planet’s worst climate-related disasters. The two-year “first stage” plan shows that the government officially recognises this as a problem. In September 2019, Moscow formally adopted the Paris climate accord.

Meanwhile, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin doubts that human activity is the cause of climate change. In October, he criticised Swedish climate campaigner Greta Thunberg assuming that she might be used in someone’s interests. Besides, he voiced scepticism on numerous occasions about solar and wind energy. For example, he expressed concerns that turbines were dangerous for birds and worms.

By Anna Litvina