While observing current situation of global and “local” climate change the forecasts until 2050 are far to be optimistic: Russia’s climate is expected to change faster and more drastically than at any time in the last 100 to 150 years.
According to the report of the Russian Federal Service for Hydrometorology and Environmental Monitoring for 2011, monitoring data and model calculations, Russia’s climate is more vulnerable to global warming than the climate of many other regions of the world. Anomalies in average annual temperatures in Russia reach 3–4°С, while the average global anomalies only slightly exceed 1°С. According to Roshydromet data, over the past 100 years (1907–2006), total warming in Russia stood at 1.29°С, while average global warming, based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), was at 0.74°С over a span of 150 years. At the same time, in many regions, such as the Altai region (figure 2), the temperature increase in the last 100 years has exceeded 3°С.
Figure 2. Changes in average annual air temperature (in degrees Celsius), Altai , Barnaul weather station. Linear trend and deviations from the annual average,1838-2008.
Desertification covered an area of over 100 million ha. In general, it is assumed that the economic costs of climate change will reach 1.2% of GDP per year (and in some regions of the country - 4.5% of GDP). For example, according to available data, the damage caused by heatwave in 2010 amounted to about 1.2% of its GDP. In 2010 and 2012, the drought caused a significant drop in grain production in the country, as well as a consequent increase in grain prices. The total losses resulted from poor harvests exceeded RUB 300 bn in those years. The annual economic loss that is conditioned by global warming in according to predicted crop yields in Russia is estimated at RUB 108bn ($ 3.5bn) by 2020 and over RUB 120bn ($ 3.9bn) by 2050.
While some experts and politicians assume that climate negotiations do not have significant economic and political importance for Russia, climate change negatively influences social, environmental and economic indicators. Moreover, global warming has a clear tendency to build up a negative influence on Russian sustainable development.
Ekaterina Reshetnikova, sustainable investment adviser, Russian Carbon Fund