Climate Strategy for Saint-Petersburg

In the end of the year 2013 the approaches to Climate Strategy for Saint-Petersburg were presented at the seminar, organized by City Natural Resources Committee in cooperation with Friends of the Baltic non-governmental organization. Experts presented data on the climate change consequences in the region, and proposals to urban environment adaptation to these consequences. This is a pioneer step in Russia to create a program for adaptation to various aspects of climate change consequences, but it still doesn’t include the low-carbon development plan.
In the opening speech Julia Menshova, specialist of St. Petersburg Natural Resources Committee, showed the last data about climate change, based on the first volume materials of the 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, published on 27th of September 2013.

First presentation in Russia of the 5th IPCC report in Russian language took place 23rd of October in St. Petersburg agency of INTERFACX. It was presented by IPCC member Vladimir Katsov (director of the Voeikova Main Geophysics Observatory), Аlexey Kokorin (WWF, Russia) and Olga Senova (RSEU Climate Secretariat).

Dmitry Frank-Kamenetsky, head of the department of governmental state regulation in environmental protection, said that climate doctrine ordered to each subject of Federation to organize system of rapid response activities to extreme weather events. And also to consider the climate factor in the elaboration of plans and programs for socio-economical development. With request of the governor working group was formed charged with developing a climate strategy in St. Petersburg and preparation of the common understanding in climate impacts for the city and the necessary actions to prevent possible damages.

Artem Pavlovsky from the State Research and Design Center of St. Petersburg Master Plan, presented the report on climate change scenario estimates in St. Petersburg. In our city, in addition to the global climate change manifestation also there is a significantly impact of urban heat. Nature data tells us that we can observe effect of local heat island. Since 1950 in St. Petersburg weather was colder, then in Helsinki or Tallinn, but in the second part of 20th century – warmer.
On physical models for St. Petersburg - average temperature in 1971-2000 years was 5,4oC. To the end of the century temperature can reach 8-10 oC. Global scenarios on sea level rise usually do not give details about the Baltic Sea, but with a high probability sea level rise will increase. Finish experts, that use models with regional characteristics, predict Baltic sea level rise up to 1 meter in the end of 21st century.

Igor Bogatirevfrom the Saint Petersburg State Company "Mineral" (SC "Mineral") told about geological and environmental risks on St. Petersburg territory. Geology in our city is quite complex and difficult to fully assess. The depth of the solid foundation varies from 2 to 17 meters.
Here is the list of risk factors, observed in St. Petersburg, which may be exacerbated by climate change: biogas production, coast line erosion, surface water flooding, groundwater flooding etc.
There are many other factors. SC "Mineral" developed the maps of risks for 11 geological factors.

Alexander Nikolaev SC "Mineral" described in more details about the problem of groundwater flooding in St. Petersburg. On this moment in several measuring wells installed automatic sensors, using help to trace the dynamics of the water level in the Neva River and the groundwater level, the sensors react to surges from the Gulf of Finland. The influence zone of surface water lift in the valley of the Neva covers 50-100 meters.

Abrasive processes in the coastal zone are now quite active. Coast line retreats to 0.25-0.5 m per year, maximum for 2 meters per year. To track the trends map of geological risks to marine coastal zone was made for the current situation. As example of this kind of risks we can look at mouth of River Privetnaya (near Vyborg). Prognosis for this river for 50-100 years - shoreline retreat to the Primorskoe highway.
This process also takes place in the boundaries of St. Petersburg. For example, beach of Krestovskiy island will be completely degraded after 100 years.

Frequency of the extreme erosion is equal to the frequency of storms without the ice cover.
Recently there were 4 large storms, which had a negative impact on the coasts of St. Petersburg.
The number of floods had increased significantly, and the largest number of floods occurs in winter and spring. But the introduction of complex protective structures significantly decreased the impact of floods to the city.

According to the Sailing directions, the average wave height from March to August is 1 meter. In 2011 57th kilometer of the highway road Saint Petersburg-Ruch’i was completely degraded. Storm St. Jude in 2013 gave a wave more than 3 meters height in the Gulf of Finland, which does not fit into all existing models.

Olga Senova, the Chair of “Friends of the Baltic” NGO and Russian Socio-Ecological Union Climate Secretariat (RSEU), said that Climate Strategy must include not only adaptation plans, but also strategy of low-carbon development. She presented overview of the UN climate change negotiations in Warsaw (COP-19/CMP 9) and Position of non-governmental organizations on climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. O. Senova shared the information about the RSEU campaign “Energy efficiency – biggest, cleanest and cheapest power plant in Russia”, which shows the opportunities to reduce energy production from carbon energy sources replacing it with energy amount, saved thanks to energy efficiency measures.

All presentations you can find here: