Russia is the fourth largest producer of territorial fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions worldwide, accounting for nearly five percent of global CO2 emissions. In September 2019, the country ratified the Paris Agreement of 2015, a document tackling global warming under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Russia set its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target at 25 to 30 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, which was criticized as "critically insufficient" by the non-governmental organization Climate Action Tracker, since this threshold was already met by the country in 2017.
Another effect of climate change that directly affects Russia is ice melting. The Arctic region, where the extent of sea ice significantly receded over the past four decades, accounts for one fifth of the country's territory and is home to 2.4 million citizens, or two percent of the Russian population. Permafrost thaw in this area, which is rich in natural resources and is particularly relevant for the national mining industry and the extraction of oil and gas, would imply high economic costs for the country.
At the same time, Russia could benefit from climate change, as the temperature increase in the Arctic would enable the Northern Sea Route. Saving up to 14 days compared to the route over the Suez Canal and the Indian Ocean, this pathway was estimated to transport 80 to 95 million metric tons of cargo by 2024, mostly liquefied natural gas. However, foreign companies like the French shipping and transportation company CMA CGM Group publicly refused to use the route due to concerns over the Arctic's environment.
Within the country, opinions are split on climate change, with approximately one quarter of the population considering the rhetoric about it fabricated. Even though the first eco-protests were organized in 2019, general awareness about climate activism among Russians is rather low. Among residents who were informed about the work of Greta Thunberg and her supporters, nearly three quarters were pessimistic about its success in making an actual ecological impact.
The environmental future of Russia highly depends on political decisions. On the one hand, the national government set the development of the Arctic region as a priority for the 21st century, increasing investment in the Northern Sea Route and thereby putting national security and economy before sustainable global thinking. At the same time, Russia was expected to reduce the volume of coal in its total primary energy supply by 2060, gradually increasing consumption of renewable energy sources. Thus, the country's climate strategy is based upon maintaining its natural resources located in the permafrost region while using the advantage of the new shipping route.
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In the following 7 chapters, you will quickly find the 36 most important statistics relating to "Climate change in Russia".