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Russia faces growing climate change challenges


The 27th annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) kicked off on Wednesday in Russia's St. Petersburg. Over 130 countries and regions sent delegates to participate in the three-day event.

Under the theme of "The Foundations of a Multipolar World – The Formation of New Areas of Growth," cooperation in the environment and new economic realities are expected to be key topics, as climate change poses increasing challenges.

Ice floes drift along the Neva River in St. Petersburg, Russia, March 28, 2024. /CFP
Ice floes drift along the Neva River in St. Petersburg, Russia, March 28, 2024. /CFP

Ice floes drift along the Neva River in St. Petersburg, Russia, March 28, 2024. /CFP

Russia is among the countries facing severe impacts from climate change, as the Arctic is warming faster than the global average. The host city of the forum, St. Petersburg, set a temperature record of 21.5 degrees Celsius on April 10 this year, with its temperature climbing to the highest-ever reading for this day, according to Russian meteorologists.

The permafrost covering nearly two-thirds of Russia's territory is rapidly thawing. The soil is subsiding, and the piles on which homes, businesses, fuel storage facilities, and pipelines stand in the Arctic Circle are subsiding. According to Russian news agency TASS, climate change has also created substantial economic loss, estimated at 580 billion rubles (about $6.5 billion) annually.

"There is increasingly growing fear of future large man-made disasters in this regard. And where it will 'go off' next time is very hard to predict," said Vyacheslav Fetisov, chairman of the All-Russian Society for the Protection of Nature.

Facing up to the challenges, the Russian government has taken more active action to combat global climate change in recent years. In November 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree that aims to reduce Russia's greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent from 1990 levels by 2030. In 2021, Russia's first climate law came out and passed its first reading in the Russian State Duma, which introduced the mechanisms of carbon trading and carbon offset.

Russia has confirmed its goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2060 and is working closely with other parts of the world. During this year's SPIEF, more discussions and dialogue over cooperation to cope with climate change challenges are expected to take place.

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