Russia has announced a plan to adapt the economy and population to climate change, aiming to reduce damage and also to "use the advantages" of warmer temperatures, AFP reported on Sunday January 5th.
The government published on its website a document which says that climate change has had a "prominent and increasing effect" on socioeconomic development, lifestyles, health, and industry, and details a plan of action to fight this growing problem.
The two-year "first stage" plan is an indication that the Russian government officially recognises this climate change as a problem, even though President Vladimir Putin denies that human activity is the reason.
The plan includes preventive measures such as dam building or switching to more drought-resistant crops, as well as crisis preparations including emergency vaccinations or evacuations in case of a disaster.
According to the plan, climate change poses risks to public health, endangers permafrost, and increases the likelihood of infections and natural disasters.
The plan says possible "positive" effects are decreased energy use in cold regions, expanding agricultural areas and navigational opportunities in the Arctic Ocean.
The government will calculate risks of Russian products becoming uncompetitive and failing to meet new standards over climate, and will prepare new educational materials to teach climate change in schools.
Russia is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, with vast Arctic regions and infrastructure built over permafrost.
Moscow formally adopted the Paris climate accord in September of last year and criticised the US withdrawal from the pact. Yet Putin has repeatedly denied the scientific consensus that human activity is the cause of climate change, blaming it last month on some "processes in the universe".
Russia's meteorological service predicted Sunday temperatures up to 16 degrees Celsius higher than normal when Russia celebrates Orthodox Christmas.
"Weather on Christmas will be warmer than normal almost on the entire Russian territory," it explained on its website.