The situation on the verge

Addressing the heads of the G7 states, the UN Secretary General noted that the past 5 years were the hottest years in the history of meteorological observations. “According to the World Meteorological Organization, the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached the highest level in the history of mankind: this level of CO2 concentration existed about 3 to 5 million years ago, when the temperature was much higher and the sea level was 10-20 meters above the presently existing,” said the UN Secretary General.

Specialists of the European atmosphere monitoring service of the Copernicus project also accent the extreme degree of aggravation of the climate change situation. According to their information, in the Arctic area, besides the melting of ice, a record number of continuous forest fires have occurred - more than 100 cases during this summer. In June, that led to the release of more than 50 megatons of carbon into the atmosphere, more than the past eight years’ total. “Forest fires in the Arctic, Alaska and Siberia are particularly alarming since solid combustion particles are more frequently deposited on ice,” the European Meteorological Service said in its statement. “It obstructs the ice, which leads to absorption rather than a reflection of sunlight, which could further exacerbate global warming.”

Almost everywhere on the planet, the number of people who have realized that climate change is extremely dangerous is growing rapidly. The introduction of a special climate regime (climate emergency) was announced by 985 jurisdictions in 18 countries. The population of the territories declaring an extreme climate is more than 200 million people.

The recognition of the territory as a zone of extreme climate situation is not merely symbolic. A climate-related emergency announcement is a strong signal for both government and local residents. Most “climate emergency zones” have the goal of increasing ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, achieving zero carbon emissions by 2030, and make climate a priority when considering all decisions at the local level.

António Guterres emphasized that leaders should “shift taxes from people to carbon” (that is, introduce carbon regulation), as well as stop subsidizing fossil fuels and stop building coal stations. “All this requires a lot of political will,” he added.

In Russia, the climate situation is not recognized an emergency, but de-facto, the situation is close to that. For example, recently, Russian scientists raised the issue of climate-change risk of contracting infections such as fever, which are atypical for northern countries. Advisor to the director of the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology of Rospotrebnadzor Viktor Maleyev said that “the West Nile fever has already been registered in Voronezh, although previously it had been diagnosed in more southern regions of Russia ...”

Climate warming in Russia is going 2.5 times faster than the global average. This fact has already been confirmed in real life. Recently, Russian scientists and Russian President V. Putin directly linked a natural disaster in the Irkutsk region with global climate change.

According  to Associate Professor of the Department of Meteorology and Near-Earth Space Physics of the Geography Department of Irkutsk State University Inna Latysheva, “the cause of catastrophic floods is the anomalous development of atmospheric processes that have manifested themselves against the background of observed global and regional climate changes.” In the opinion of Siberian scientists, the likelihood of a recurrence of natural excesses, both floods and droughts, is “quite high” in the future.

President Putin also agreed with that during his visit to Siberia. Later, at a meeting with his French colleague Emmanuel Macron, the RF President said that he supported France’s efforts against climate change: “Joint work in the field of combating climate change is essential ... We are ready for such joint work.”

However, previously the media actively cited the skepticism of the Russian leader regarding the feasibility of renewable energy sources (RESs), which are recognized worldwide as an effective means of combating climate change.

And despite the promised early ratification of the Paris Agreement, not everything is going smoothly in this area. The Ministry of Natural Resources should submit to the government draft law on ratification of the Paris Agreement by September 1, and ratification of the agreement should occur before the start of the World Climate Summit, which will be held in New York on September 23. Meanwhile, representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation at the discussion of the position on ratification of the Paris Agreement expressed concerns that this would entail additional payments and obligations for Russia and proposed to postpone ratification.

The Paris Agreement is now almost the only driver for the modernization of industrial production in Russia. furthermore, a country where climate change goes faster than the global average should not turn a blind eye to the obvious risks of climate change. Representatives of the RSEU in their Position highlight this and believe that Russia needs to “develop a National Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change, foresee the mandatory development of regional adaptation plans, and motivate regions to interact with the Climate Center of Roshydromet in order to assess the effects of climate change and develop relevant adaptation measures.”