The climate plans have reached the regions

The Yugra Climate Roadmap is a part of the State Program on the “Provision of Environmental Safety of the Khanty-Mansiisky Autonomous District for 2016 – 2020.”  According to the statement of the Yugra authorities, ambitious modernization of production facilities had taken place in Yugra in the last five years; it allowed to noticeably diminish greenhouse gas emissions. “The amount of emissions was reduced approximately by one third. The Program foresees inventorying of greenhouse gas emissions in the territory of Yugra and composing a forecast on their reduction for the period up to 2030,”  Yugra First Vice Governor Gennady Bukhtin told.

Yugra became one of the “frontline” regions administrations of which took part in the survey organized by the Climate Secretariat of the Russian Social Ecological Union (RSEU). Representatives of public environmental organizations sent letters to all Russia’s regions requesting information regarding their climatic plans.   

It follows from the response of the Yugra Administration that the Yugra Climate Plan was composed of several blocks: measures on prevention and reduction of the negative technogenic impact on the climate, preservation and reproduction of forests as accumulators and absorbers of greenhouse gases. Scholarly researches will also be carried out in the sphere of climate change and its possible impact on the social and economic development of the Khanty-Mansiisk Autonomous District. 

According to Sergey Pikunov, Director of the Control and Surveillance Service on Yugra environment, fauna, and forest relations, the Action Plan for Climate Change Adaptation is targeted at realization of the RF Climate Doctrine Statement and the RF Environmental Safety Strategy.

However, it was not only demands from “above” that stimulated regions to develop adaptation measures.  At different pace, climate changes are taking place in practically all parts of Russia; they are causing noticeable impact on the development of the regions.  Annual damages caused by climate changes in the Russian regions in average are estimated at the level of 30-60 billion rubles. The amounts and intensity of climate cataclysms keep growing from year to year.  

“Climate changes compose one of the threats to the national security of Russia.  These are not just mere words for Yugra: it is necessary to get ready for such changes.  For our District, both warming and cooling are dangerous, they might cause flooding or destructions of the oil production sites, linear and infrastructure sites,” Sergey Pikunov, Yugra Chief Ecologist, added. 

As the RSEU survey has shown, a part of Russian regions have already made the first steps on the realization of the Climate Doctrine. Climatic strategies have been developed in the Murmansk Region and St. Petersburg. Programs for greenhouse gas emission reduction exist in the Republic of Tyva and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District.  Accountancy and inventory of the greenhouse gas emissions have been organized in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and Saratov and Sverdlovsk Regions.  Programs for modernization and energy saving are functioning in many regions. A plan on implementation of the “Green Standards” system of voluntary certification of real estate objects is under enactment in the Republic of Bashkortostan.  It presumes high energy efficiency standards for the buildings.  Regional programs for the development of renewable energy sources have been established in the Orenburg and Sakhalin Regions, Chukotka Autonomous District and other regions. 

However, the survey has shown that the majority of regions do not so far work in the sphere of reviewing consequences of climate change for specific areas systematically.  No adaptation programs for various activities and infrastructure of cities and rural territorial units have been developed; no complex measures on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions have been settled with the exception of events under the frames of regional energy safety and energy efficiency programs.

Resuming results of the survey of regional authority bodies, representatives of public environmental organizations came to the conclusion that it is necessary to go through the corresponding regulatory base in more details and outline competencies of regional authority bodies in this sphere.  As the survey has shown, the processes are going by far too slow due to discrepancies between the parties engaged and also because of the lack of financing.  

The Climate Secretariat of the Russian Social Ecological Union has developed a brochure entitled Climate Change: What Regions Can Do.  The survey has shown that regions need support and methodological assistance in planning and realization of climatic actions,” Olga Senova, the head of RSEU Climate Secretariat , says. “The Russian Social Ecological Union is ready to provide assistance in this matter in the form of reviewing best practices of the development and execution of climatic plans for regions, cities, and settlements.”