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Free Report [ September]. Climate Change in Russia

by Valentina Urbasova | 09-09-2023 20:39 recommendations 1

The issue of climate change has become one of the most pressing and significant challenges of our time. Negative climate changes have a profound impact on nature, the economy, and society worldwide, and Russia is no exception to this problem.

According to research by scientists from Roshydromet (the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring of Russia), the country is warming 2.5 times faster than the global average. Firstly, this is because two-thirds of the country lies within polar latitudes, where climate change is more pronounced. Secondly, a significant part of the country is land, which heats up faster than the ocean. Heatwaves are becoming longer, resulting in a series of abnormally hot days. Precipitation levels are increasing faster than the global average, but by the end of the century, droughts may become more prolonged in southern regions during the summer.

Flora and High Temperatures

Warming benefits agriculture in the Siberian and Northwestern Federal Districts by allowing the cultivation of late-maturing grain varieties, which are typically more productive. However, arid conditions are intensifying in major grain-producing regions. The Volga region may become unsuitable for wheat cultivation, which is a staple food crop. Warming also has a mixed impact on livestock farming. While longer grazing periods can reduce feed preparation costs, pastures may dry out during droughts.

Russia's forests account for a fifth of the world's forested areas, and warming increases forest productivity. However, this effect varies. Heat intensifies wildfires, posing a particular threat to coniferous forests, which make up 76% of the forested area. Coniferous species may be replaced by deciduous species, which are less valuable for the forestry industry. Additionally, warming expands the ranges of dangerous pests, threatening both agriculture and forests.

Distribution of Water Resources

Water resources are used for municipal services, industry, energy production, agriculture, water transport, and recreation. Russia is one of the most water-rich countries, with 30,200 cubic meters per capita per year. However, these resources are unevenly distributed. For example, the territory inhabited by 70% of the population may have only 10% of the water resources. By mid-century, much of the country's territory may face "catastrophically low" water availability.

One of the reasons for potential freshwater shortages is migration. People are moving to climatically comfortable southern regions of Russia, increasing the strain on water resources, which are already under pressure.

Extraction of Natural Resources

Warming has both positive and negative effects on the extractive industries. On one hand, warmer conditions improve working conditions outdoors. On the other hand, in the Northwestern Federal District, especially in the Arctic, melting ice complicates offshore drilling. When air temperatures rise above 15°C, the efficiency of compressor stations drops, reducing fuel production.

The degradation of permafrost poses a threat to mines in Vorkuta and Inta. In regions where mining is conducted through open-pit methods (Murmansk Oblast, Karelia, Leningrad Oblast, Komi), landslides can damage quarries.

In the Ural Federal District (the country's largest mineral resource base), increased fire risk poses risks to oil and gas extraction. The Far East Federal District faces similar challenges due to permafrost degradation and extreme precipitation.

Summer Will Become Energy-Intensive

The energy sector is one of the most climate-dependent sectors of the economy. For example, cooling power plants and thermal power plants requires water, and if the water warms due to rising air temperatures, energy production decreases. This is expected in the Central-Chernozem region, with increased risks in the Rostov and Sverdlovsk regions.

However, on average, hydropower plants are expected to produce 4% more electricity due to climate change, as increased water flow is anticipated in most reservoirs.

Warming shortens the heating season. For example, in the Central Federal District, it is expected to decrease by 15-20 days by mid-century. While this could lead to energy savings, outdated infrastructure hinders adaptation. Boiler houses may not be able to cope with rapid temperature fluctuations, risking damage to pipelines and equipment. Consequently, mass overheating and underheating may occur in homes.

During heatwaves, regions already experience peak loads on the power grid.

Conclusion

Climate reports, both global and national, are alarming. However, their purpose is to highlight risks and new opportunities. For instance, Russia has significant potential in renewable energy sources, but their contribution is currently only 1%. The North Caucasus Federal District has substantial solar energy resources, yet they are underutilized.

Russia ranks first in the world in wind energy potential. This is particularly true along the coasts of the Kara, Bering, and Sea of Okhotsk. Experts also consider the potential for adaptation in agriculture as "huge," partly because it has been underutilized.

Scientists also emphasize the need to expand the network of monitoring stations, develop new standards in climate-sensitive sectors (including construction, utilities, and energy), promote the use of renewable energy sources, expand protected natural areas, and modernize heating systems and efficient air conditioning to adapt Russian regions to climate change.


Sources:
1. http://cc.voeikovmgo.ru/ru/publikatsii/doklady/14-dokumenty/1992-tretij-otsenochnyj-doklad-rosgidrometa-ob-izmeneniyakh-klimata-i-ikh-posledstviyakh-na-territorii-rossijskoj-federatsii-2022-g
2. http://cc.voeikovmgo.ru/ru/?option=com_content&view=article&id=121
 

Valentina Urbasova

  • Russia E-gen Ambassador Valentina Urbasova
 
 
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4 Comments

SangHyeon Park

  • SangHyeon Park says :
    Hello, I'm mentor Sanghyeon.
    I hope that Russia will use its abundant resources to achieve carbon neutrality and serve as a model for other countries.
    Thank you for the good article.
    Posted 28-09-2023 17:05

Emmanuel  Dassah

Seeun Mentor

  • Seeun Mentor says :
    Hello, this is mentor Seeun!
    Great article about climate change in Russia and how it affects the environment as well as people's lives. Climate change may introduce new oppertunities, but we all must be careful and think about how it may affect the Earth before taking a step forward.
    Thank you for your article, and I look forward to your next one!
    Posted 12-09-2023 16:10

Bruno Troya

  • Bruno Troya says :
    Valentina, your report on climate change in Russia is eye-opening. It shows how climate impacts touch every aspect of life, but it also highlights opportunities for positive change.
    Keep up the great work!

    Posted 10-09-2023 01:04

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