Is climate change too expensive for Russia?

Otrachshenko and Popova, from Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies, have recently published a paper which discusses whether Russian economy can adapt to global warming.

On 21st September 2019, Russia signed the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, which sets a long-term goal of limiting the global temperature increase to 2°C until 2030 and manifests low carbon technological development. Russia’s target is about 25–30% below the emissions level in 1990. However, there is a question whether this target will be sufficient to tackle global warming. While the targets set by Russia within the Paris Agreement are feasible and may limit the temperature increase to 1.5–2°C by 2030, experts agree that those targets might be too low to prevent further temperature increases by the end of the 21st century.

Indeed, experts from Voeikov Main Geophysical Observatory predict an increase of temperature by the end of the century up to 2.7°C in the south of Russia and up to 4.1°C in its northern parts.

Climate change will cause more frequent floods, storms, and thunderstorms, leading to infrastructures and agriculture losses, and forced migration. Another problem is that an increase in temperature extremes will greatly affect public health and mortality rates. Also, extreme weather events will bring extra economic costs as they will slow down labour productivity: experts say that a single hot day (above 25C) costs Russia 0,28% of its daily GDP (Table 1).

Overall, these consequences might be partially mitigated through encouraging low carbon development and energy-efficient production, improving regional economic conditions, and providing job opportunities. Given its resource richness, large territory, and population, Russia is a key partner in finding a solution to climate change. However, it remains an open question whether Russia can afford climate change.

Original source: Otrachshenko, V., Popova, O. Can Russia Afford Climate Change? RUSSIAN ANALYTICAL DIGEST No. 243, 11 December 2019

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