SOURCE: The Guardian

DATE: January 5, 2020

SNIP: Russia has published a plan to adapt its economy and population to climate change, aiming to mitigate damage but also “use the advantages” of warmer temperatures.

The document, published on the government’s website on Saturday, outlines a plan of action and acknowledges changes to the climate are having a “prominent and increasing effect” on socioeconomic development, people’s lives, health and industry.

Russia is warming 2.5 times faster than the planet as a whole, on average, and the two-year “first stage” plan is an indication the government officially recognises this as a problem, even though Vladimir Putin denies 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.

Possible “positive” effects are decreased energy use in cold regions, expanding agricultural areas and navigational opportunities in the Arctic Ocean.

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.

Moscow formally adopted the Paris climate accord in September last year and criticised the US withdrawal from the pact.

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