Spotlight Activity: Russia’s Climate Change Adaptation Strategy
The biggest changes climate change will cause in Russia are soil erosion, thawing of permafrost, floods, extreme heat and a very high risk of fires. All these changes already affect the population of coastal cities, Siberia and Russian North East. Desertification of soils can be seen already in 27 areas of Russian Federation, according to the Ecology Safety Strategy.
To date, government action has been disproportionately focused on responding to disasters and recovering from them instead of preparing for them and trying to reduce risks. The shift towards adaptation planning and risk management must happen at the local level as well as at the federal level.
According to the Decree of President from November 3, 2016, the official Climate Change Adaptation strategy is to be developed by 2019. According to the Ministry of Environment, the goal is minimizing and preventing the negative effects of climate change as an alternative to spending money on their elimination.
These strategies cover a decrease of Greenhouse gases emission through promotion of innovative and green technologies and development of eco-friendly manufacturing processes. They propose to introduce technologies to decrease air pollution and to increase the waste recycling rate.
Nevertheless, the decrease of emissions is to be calculated in comparison with the level of 1990s. But this target is so weak that it would not require a decrease in GHG emissions from current levels.
It also is worth noting that taking steps to mitigate climate change are important but more long-term in nature. Climate change adaptation requires government and other stakeholders to invest in resources that can offset the environmental impacts of climate change, such as flooding, droughts and extreme weather. That’s exactly what a draft adaptation plan for the Moscow region aims to do. The strategy takes stock of which sectors are most vulnerable to climate change, recommends adaptation measures, and estimates compliance costs. The draft plan lauds the high resilience it sees in the city’s power grids, housing complexes, and transportation networks. But it raises the specter of more frequent and pronounced heat waves that would sicken or kill rising numbers of Muscovites and decimate greenery, as well as worsening air quality that would erode health.
Status: Standing Still
Russian Federation has not yet ratified the Paris Agreement and has not finished its Climate Change Adaptation strategy. The proposed strategy suggests minimum steps to mitigate climate change, and does not include the allocation of resources needed to help Russia adapt to the impact of climate change.
You can support the efforts of Russian authorities to develop a Russia’s Climate Change Adaptation strategy by contacting them with the following Action Alert message:
We strongly encourage Russia to speed up the national process for ratification of the Paris Agreement, present a 2030 target with emissions reductions from current levels and allocate resources to help Russia adapt to the impact of climate change on its environment. We believe that the draft climate change adaptation plan for the Moscow region can serve as a model for other parts of the country.
Ministry of Russian Federation