MOSCOW: The Russian government has published a plan to adapt the economy and population to climate change, aiming to mitigate damage but also “use the advantages” of warmer temperatures.
The document, published on the government website on Saturday, outlines a plan of action and admits that “consequences of (climate) change have a prominent and increasing effect on socio-economic development, people’s lives,” health and industry.
Russia is warming 2.5 times quicker than the planet on average, and the two-year “first stage” plan is an indication that the government officially recognises this as a problem, even though President Vladimir Putin denies it is man-made.
The plan is needed in order to “lower the losses and use the advantages”.
It says climate change increases risks to public health and permafrost, of infections, turbulent weather and will have consequences for other species.
Possible “positive” effects are decreased energy use in cold regions, expanding agricultural areas and navigational opportunities in the Arctic ocean.
The document lays the groundwork for various agencies and stresses the need for more research on economic vulnerabilities, without detailing financing.
It lists preventive measures such as dam building or switching to more drought-resistant crops, as well as crisis preparations including emergency vaccinations or evacuations in case of a disaster.
Among a list of 30 measures, the government will calculate risks of Russian products becoming uncompetitive and failing to meet new climate-related standards as well as prepare new educational materials to teach climate change in schools.
Russia is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, with vast Arctic regions and infrastructure built over permafrost. Recent floods and wildfires have been among the planet’s worst climate-related disasters.
Putin has repeatedly denied scientific consensus that climate change is primarily caused by man-made emissions, blaming it last month on some “processes in the universe”.