“There is a narrative about climate change that says there are winners and losers. Even if most of the planet may lose from a changing climate, certain industries and countries benefit. And Russia is usually on the tip of people’s tongues. Russian officials are even claiming that Russia is the likely winner.

That picture, described by Debra Javelin, an associate professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame and lead author of the recently published study “Russia in a Changing Climate,” 16 co-authors — all Russian experts and members discussed. of the Program on Research and New Approaches to Security in Eurasia (PONARS), a multinational group of academics from North America, Europe, and post-Soviet Eurasia.

PONARS scholars, including Susanne Wengle, also an associate professor of political science at Notre Dame, studied the effects of climate change on Russia and Russia’s role in global efforts to address climate change or impede climate action.

“We asked ourselves,” Javelin said of his research team, “does Russia stand to benefit from climate change? Are Russian government officials’ claims that it benefits them true?”

The PONARS network includes social scientists from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, allowing each co-author to analyze Russia in their respective fields, including agriculture, international affairs, the changing Arctic, public health, civil society and governance.

Drawing on their collective expertise and a comprehensive literature review, the researchers found that Russia is already suffering from a variety of climate change impacts — despite the government’s positive spin — and that they need to mitigate or mitigate these climate impacts. They are not ready to adapt. And, as the rest of the world shifts to renewable energy sources, Russia’s fossil-fuel-dependent government is unwilling or unable to plan for the country’s alternatives, changes that could potentially affect its entire society. Can benefit.

He said that the future of Russia politically and economically is interdependent with the future of the climate. “If we have any hope of seeing a peaceful Russia that can rejoin the international community with a more responsible government, we cannot talk about one without the other.”

But while Russia continues its carbon war in Ukraine after two full years, it “remains increasingly isolated from the international community and its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” the researchers wrote. .

The reason for concern is that not only is Russia considered the world’s largest country, occupying more than half of the Arctic Ocean’s coastline, but it is warming four times faster than the Earth as a whole. And the country is a major emitter of greenhouse gases. According to the PONARS study.

Environmental impacts already present in Russia include floods, heat waves, droughts and forest fires that affect not only communities but also agriculture, forestry and water resources. “Russia is one of the world’s most important producers and exporters of grain,” said Wengel, a Russian agricultural expert. “This means that the impact of climate change on Russian farms is a concern not only for Russians, but for everyone concerned with global markets for commodity crops and global food security.”

Global warming has had a huge impact on Russia’s permafrost, which is now melting at an alarming rate. Once thought to be permanently frozen, the frozen ground is now defrosting, shifting and causing tremendous damage. The study pointed to floods, landslides, cave-ins or subsidence of land that supports existing infrastructure — leading to cracked foundations and collapsing shelters.

“Some Russian cities in high-latitude regions report up to 80 percent of infrastructure damage from melting permafrost and soil instability for buildings and pipelines,” the researchers found.

According to PONARS scholars, however, the Russian leadership interprets these climate impacts self-servingly and encourages its citizens to accept them as benefits. For example, while Russian scientists warn of extreme temperatures and declining Arctic sea ice, the Russian government favors year-round Arctic sea lanes and an overall more livable climate. . And although Russian climatologists study the effects of climate change, there are limited policies to reduce the vulnerability of some regions to climate impacts, and generally little adaptation planning and even less actual adaptation implementation. Is.

The researchers found that Russia also has a real deficit of climate leadership and an absence of commitment to mitigation and adaptation. “No top political leader is a champion of the climate agenda,” he declared. “Those in the highest positions of power exhibit silence or denial.”

Additionally, Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated the climate emergency. “The human toll is significant — the number of deaths and structures that are destroyed — but the damage is the severe atmospheric destruction,” Javelin noted.

The war has caused irreparable damage to the global climate through increased military emissions, which researchers have defined as “potentially equivalent to several million additional tons of carbon dioxide.” Military operations have had a detrimental effect on the environment by adding toxic chemicals and hazardous waste to the air and water supply.

The PONARS study serves as a framework for identifying gaps in research. In particular, the scientists believe that more research is needed on Russia’s political dimensions in our changing climate – that is, a closer look at the country’s central political system and how it addresses policy challenges related to climate change. How to deal with

The researchers hope to improve understanding of the climate issues affecting Russia so that when the Russian leadership decides to recognize the country’s uncertainty in a changing climate, Javelin and Wengel added. Adaptation will be a reliable base of knowledge to support them