When it comes to climate change, Russia has experienced mixed emotions. While many advocate that climate change will drastically harm the country, others are indifferent or even claim climate change could improve the Russian economy. The following is a description of the role of climate change in Russia.
Potential Effects of Climate Change
Russia is located in polar-regions, which are expected to be hit hardest by climate change. Therefore, because of its geography and its size, climate change is a major issue for the country. Climate change is expected to cause an increase in frequency and intensity of floods, winter melts, earthquakes, heatwaves etc. Additionally, it is expected to endanger public health as well as the economy, Russia being the world’s largest energy exporter.
Russia has already experienced wildfires, excessive droughts, and Russia’s carbon emissions are the third highest in the world.
Climate change could also cause a massive insect infestation in Russian forests, which poses a great risk for the country's health.
Efforts To Fight Climate Change
According to the Russia’s Natural Resources and Ecological Ministry, it is possible to reduce the dangers of natural phenomena, cut down the expenses on liquidating emergency situations, and to increase the durability of various economic sectors such as agriculture, transport and energy. Therefore, Russian leadership has made efforts to combat climate change.
Russia voted to both adopt and enact the Kyoto Protocol to fight climate change effects. Additionally, President Medvedev has been excessively proactive in emphasizing climate protection and stressing the need for a reduction in carbon emissions. He also supported a new law to reduce energy use in public buildings by 30% by 2015. Furthermore, the Russian government has adopted a climate doctrine that will allow for changes to made in development programs that will take into account the potential effects of climate change.
Additionally, in recent years, Russia has frequently been described in the media as an energy superpower, as it has become the world's leading natural gas exporter and leading natural gas producer. Russia is also the 3rd largest electricity producer in the world and the 5th largest renewable energy producer. Also, Russia has built hydropower plants along big rivers like Volga.
Furthermore, Russia was the first country to develop civilian nuclear power and to construct the world's first nuclear power plant. The Russian government plans to allocate 127 billion rubles ($5.42 billion) to a federal program dedicated to the next generation of nuclear energy technology. About 1 trillion rubles ($42.7 billion) is to be allocated from the federal budget to nuclear power and industry development before 2015.
Advocates For Climate Change
Not all Russians are in agreement that climate change will negatively effect Russia. Rather, many Russians advocate that It may lead to a longer growing season and might also make for ice-free ports in the Arctic, opening up whole new trade routes for the country. Free-water ports would give Russia additional options for transportation of their exports, particularly of gas and oil. Additionally, in general, Russia maintains an indifferent attitude towards climate change.
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