Russia unveils plan to adapt to climate change

A woman walks in the Izmailovsky park in Moscow on January 5, 2020. Climate change poses risks to public health, endangers permafrost, increases the likelihood of infections and natural disasters. (AFP)
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Updated 06 January 2020

Russia unveils plan to adapt to climate change

  • Russia is warming 2.5 times quicker than the planet on average

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 changes in the climate have had a “prominent and increasing effect” on socioeconomic 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 recognizes this as a problem, even though President Vladimir Putin denies that human activity is the cause.

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.

The plan is needed to “lower the losses and use the advantages.”

It says climate change poses risks to public health, endangers permafrost, increases the likelihood of infections and natural disasters. It also can lead to different species being pushed out of their usual habitats.

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.

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.

Russia formally adopted the Paris climate accord in September of last year and criticized the US withdrawal from the pact.

Putin, however, has repeatedly denied the scientific consensus that climate change is primarily caused by man-made emissions, blaming it last month on some “processes in the universe.”

He has also criticized Swedish climate campaigner Greta Thunberg, painting her as an uninformed impressionable teenager possibly being “used” in someone’s interests.

He also voiced skepticism on numerous occasions about solar and wind energy, expressing alarm about the danger of turbines to birds and worms, causing them to “come out of the ground” by vibrating.

While there is evidence of that large wind-power installations can pose a risk to birds, known research does not suggest they harm worms.

On Sunday, Russia’s meteorological service predicted temperatures up to 16 degrees Celsius higher than normal Monday and Tuesday, when Russia celebrates Orthodox Christmas.

“Weather on Christmas will be warmer than normal almost on the entire Russian territory,” it said on its website.

The service said temperatures were expected to be four to eight degrees higher than normal in the European part of the country, and 10 to 16 degrees higher beyond the Urals.


Saudi Arabia, Iraq confirm full commitment to OPEC+ agreement- statement.

Updated 8 min 55 sec ago

Saudi Arabia, Iraq confirm full commitment to OPEC+ agreement- statement.

  • Both countries ministers said efforts by OPEC+ to meet their output cuts will enhance market stability

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Iraq on Monday confirmed their full commitment to the OPEC+ agreement.
Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, and Iraqi Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismail held discussions on developments in the oil markets, the improved global demand for oil, and progress in implementing the current OPEC+ agreement to reduce production.
OPEC and its allies led by Russia, a group known as OPEC+, agreed to cut oil output from May by a record 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) after the coronavirus crisis destroyed a third of global demand.
The record cuts are now due to run to the end of July, before tapering to 7.7 million bpd until December.
But some OPEC members have not fully delivered on their agreed production cuts since May.
During a phone call, the Saudi minister commended Iraq’s performance within the framework of the agreement, as the country’s level of commitment in June reached nearly 90 percent.
Prince Abdulaziz thanked the Iraqi minister for his efforts in reaching the target, and expressed his confidence that Iraq will continue to improve its level of compliance with the oil cuts.
Ismail said Iraq would continue to improve compliance with the cuts to reach 100 percent by the start of August, pledging to compensate from July to September for the overproduction in May and June.
Both ministers also said that efforts by OPEC+, and the participating countries in the agreement, to meet their output cuts would enhance market stability and speed up their balanced recovery.

  • With Reuters