Spotlight Activity: Russia Ratifies Paris Agreement While Extreme Weather Events Occur in Siberia
Inside Climate News reports that the world’s fourth largest emitter, Russia, has formally adopted the Paris Agreement, drawing an end to months of national tensions on the subject. “The Russian Federation has accepted the Paris Agreement and is becoming a full-fledged participant of this international instrument,” Ruslan Edelgeriev, the president’s climate advisor, told the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York, before proceeding to list the country’s climate contributions.
Whereas he had previously intended to submit the decision to parliament, months of opposition from industry lobbyists and deputies have swayed president Putin to bypass the chamber and endorse the pact via a government accord. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed the government decree in the day.
However, the country’s climate pledge is notoriously weak, with Climate Action Tracker labelling it as “critically insufficient”.
Russia has declared a state of emergency in five Siberian regions after wildfires engulfed an area of forest almost the size of Belgium amid record high temperatures as a result of climate change.
Officials said 2.7 million hectares of forest (about 10,400 square miles) were ablaze on Tuesday as soaring temperatures, lightning storms and strong winds combined, sending smoke hundreds of miles to reach some of Russia’s biggest regional cities.
The fires, which began earlier this month, and the Russian government’s lackluster response have raised concerns over Moscow’s commitment to addressing climate change. The country relies heavily on the oil and gas industry and has a poor record of enforcing green initiatives.
The decision to declare states of emergency on Wednesday came after two petitions attracted more than 1 million signatures demanding the government take action against the wildfires, which authorities previously dismissed as a natural occurrence, saying putting them out was not economically viable.
“The role of fires [in climate change] is underestimated. Most of the fires are man-made,” Grigory Kuksin, head of the fire protection department at Greenpeace Russia, told the Financial Times. “Given the changing climate, this has led to the fire acreage expanding quickly, and the smoke spreading wider.”
Status: Falling Behind
Russia’s tardiness in ratifying the Paris Agreement and its weak pledge are shameful, especially given its status as one of the world’s largest emitters of CO2.
Dear Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, Oreshkin Maxim Stanislavovich
We applaud that Russia has finally ratified the Paris Agreement. Now it is incumbent on your country, as one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters, to strengthen your Paris Agreement pledge by 2020; and make your pledge compliant with the currant 1.5 degrees Celsius global warming tipping point.
Send Action Alert Message to:
Oreshkin Maxim Stanislavovich
Phone: +7 945 870 86 39
Address: 1,3 1-ya Tverskaya-Yamskaya, Moscow
Climate Home News September 23, 2019
Insideclimatenews.org July 31, 2019