ANALYSIS-Sluggish climate action may see warming do Russia more harm than good

(Reuters News, 10 Jan 2020) Russia's first adaptation plan points to the economic opportunities of a hotter climate, but it also faces major threats from extreme weather and melting ice.

Russia's first plan to adapt to climate change is a tardy but much-needed acknowledgement of the risks and opportunities presented by global warming, although it lacks concrete action to address the increasingly evident threats, analysts said.

The document, published this month on a government website, said climate change would have a significant and growing influence on Russia's "socio-economic development, living conditions and human health, as well as on the state of economic infrastructure".

Russia would need to adjust to an increase in droughts, heavy rainfall, flooding, forest fires and infectious diseases, and should start teaching climate change in schools, it said.

Given the "increasing vulnerability" of the population and economy to extreme weather and climate impacts, measures to adapt would be of "strategic importance", including "making use of" new economic opportunities, it added.

The fossil fuel-rich nation could reap advantages from higher temperatures and melting ice, including less use of energy for heating, increased access for shipping in the Arctic and an expansion of agricultural production, it noted.

But climate change experts said the new framework was too general and did not require authorities to take real steps in the near term – even as the effects of climate change are becoming more apparent.

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Reuters News, 10 Jan 2020: ANALYSIS-Sluggish climate action may see warming do Russia more harm than good