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Climate change in Russia - statistics & facts

Russia, the fourth-largest emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2) worldwide, is considered to be both suffering and benefitting from climate change. While still holding on to its fossil fuels industries, the country gradually expands renewable energy investment and climate initiatives. In 2019, the country ratified the Paris Agreement, an international treaty on global warming. However, Russia's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target of 30 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 was criticized as "critically insufficient" by the non-governmental organization Climate Action Tracker, since that threshold was already met in 2017. The government approved a national action plan for adaptation to climate change in 2020. Moreover, 350 billion Russian rubles were earmarked in the renewable power plants construction from 2025 to 2035.

What are the effects of climate change in Russia?

As the mean surface temperature gradually increases, Russia faces a higher risk of wildfires, which burned over eight billion hectares of forest area in the Far Eastern Federal District alone in 2020. Natural disasters and infections could become more common, presenting threats to ecosystems, agriculture, and public health. Siberia has seen heatwaves in the summer in recent years, while the Laptev Sea in the Arctic has not frozen in October of 2020 for the first time on record. The Arctic accounts for one fifth of Russia's territory and is home to 2.4 million citizens, according to the Russian Federal Statistics Service. Thaw of permafrost, which is rich in natural resources and is particularly relevant for the mining industry and the extraction of oil and gas, would imply higher economic costs.

How could Russia benefit from climate change?

The temperature increase in the Arctic would enable the Northern Sea Route, which was open already by mid-July in 2020. Saving up to 14 days compared to the route over the Suez Canal and the Indian Ocean, the pathway transported around 33 million metric tons of cargo in 2020. However, several foreign companies publicly refused to use the route due to concerns over the Arctic's environment. Another potential benefit of the Arctic warming could be new opportunities for agricultural and trade development in the region.

Interesting statistics

In the following 8 chapters, you will quickly find the 46 most important statistics relating to "Climate change in Russia".

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