In DepthCLIMATE POLICY

Russia heightens defenses against climate change

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Science  22 Sep 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6357, pp. 1221
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6357.1221

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Summary

Earlier this month, Russia's prosecutor's office demanded that the environment ministry take steps to increase the accuracy of weather forecasts in light of a changing climate. The new charge reflects a sea change in Russia's views about climate change and how the nation must respond. Until recently, tackling climate change was a low priority for the federal government. One reason is complacence, because Russia's greenhouse gas emissions have already plummeted since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Another is political: Russia's economy depends heavily on pumping oil and gas out of the ground. But in August, Moscow city released a draft climate change adaptation plan, and other regions are working on their own plans. Still, although Russia is bracing for climate change, it has shown little desire to rein in carbon emissions. 

  • * Angelina Davydova is a journalist in Saint Petersburg, Russia.