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how Russia’s northern position will determine its future

The world economy is in the process of restructuring: the largest projects of the next decades will be connected in one way or another with the theme of the energy transition and the fight against global warming. According to calculations from a recent report Silicon Valley Bank, if annual investment in climate technology is $5.5 trillion (6.8% of global GDP), the world can achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 – this scenario was announced UN climatologists the most acceptable (it will slow down warming at around 1.5 ° C). For comparison: now the annual volume of investments in Climate Tech evaluated at $88 billion, 60 times less.

And although today the environmental agenda is far from being paramount in the Russian economy, it is time to assess what role our country can play in the future due to its geographical position. Joking aside, General Frost, who has helped Russia on the battlefield in the past, may soon become one of the factors in its global appeal. But the responsibility of the largest country in the world is special.

“Profil” opens a series of materials about what challenges await Russia in connection with climate change.

The North will receive an impetus to development

The question of what bonuses the country will receive as a result of global warming has occupied the Russian public for years. Obviously, a mild climate with a short heating period brings economic benefits. “The load on electricity will decrease in winter,” – hopes scientific director of the Hydrometeorological Center Roman Vilfand.

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There are chances for the economic development of new territories. “It will be possible to grow crops in the northern latitudes, where they could not grow before,” suggests Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for Climate Ruslan Edelgeriev.

There are views of the Arctic Ocean: melting ice promises year-round navigation along the Northern Sea Route. “Facilitating access to the Arctic shelf with its development is also a tempting topic,” adds Director of the Main Geophysical Observatory named after A.I. Voeikov of Roshydromet Vladimir Kattsov.

The West agrees: Russia is among the few beneficiaries of climate change. By words Representative of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs Diana Alarcon, against her background, many states of Africa, Asia and Latin America are destined for an unenviable fate. “The countries of the north, which have large areas of land that are unsuitable for life today, can begin to use these places for agriculture and human settlement. Great opportunities are opening up for Russia,” she stressed.

The authors of last year report Princeton University “Economic Geography of Global Warming” also predict the development of infrastructure and the growth of the welfare of the inhabitants of Russia, Canada and Greenland. They especially note that cold territories will become a place for the flow of people and investments from hot southern countries. According to scientists, by 2200 more than 600 million people will move north because their land becomes uninhabitable.

Digest climate migration

In fact, we are on the threshold of a new Great Migration of Nations. Its scale is yet to be determined. Yes, by forecast World Bank, 216 million people will become climate migrants by 2050. Calculations anthropologists in the scientific journal PNAS is more radical: in the next 50 years, the percentage of land with an average annual temperature above 29 ° C will increase from 0.8% to 19%. As a result, from 1 to 3 billion people will find themselves in unfavorable conditions for life.

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The process is already underway: data International Center for Research on Internal Migration (IDMC), in 2020, 30.7 million people were forced to move due to natural disasters – hurricanes, storms, floods. According to survey Redfin, up to half of US residents who plan to move do so because of severe weather conditions. The most famous example is Californians migrating at least for the summer from wildfires raging in the state.

Basically, while we are talking about resettlement within the same country. Cross-border migration requires the settlement of legal issues. In this regard, an important story happened to a citizen of Kiribati, Ioane Teytiota. Kiribati is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean that is already in danger of being flooded. In 2007, Teytiota moved to New Zealand with his family, but was sent back in 2013. After that, he complained to the UN Commission on Human Rights, and in 2020 he came from there verdict: From now on, countries cannot refuse asylum to people if their lives are threatened by a climate crisis in their homeland.

In ancient times, several waves of migration came from the current territory of Russia under the influence of climatic factors, Evgeny Kuznetsov, a futurologist and co-founder of the Orbita Capital Partners venture fund, recalls in an interview with Profile. Gradually, these peoples settled in Europe and the Middle East. Will the reverse process begin now?

Point of no return: why the outflow of population continued from the regions of the Far East

“Models of climate transformation show that there are few zones on Earth where the population can migrate. Russia is one of them, the expert says. – By the way, in the 18th-19th centuries, the Russian Empire was the second country after the United States to attract immigrants from Europe, where, thanks to the potato, there was a birth boom. It was a skilled migration – doctors, teachers, farmers. Open any reference book on pre-revolutionary Russia – half of the names of famous figures will be foreign. The Ericsson company flourished here, the Nobel oilmen made capital. In the 20th century, everything changed, now only poor migrants come to us. Is it possible to lure the talented and rich in the wake of the climate crisis? Yes, if you improve the image of the country. Today they would choose Canada.”

However, in addition to the historical chance, migration also presents a problem. Evgeny Kuznetsov suggests recalling the Syrian war. “It comes from the climate, several years of the worst drought in the region,” he says. – It destroyed the local way of life, conflicts began. The result was the flow of refugees to Europe, from which she almost choked. What awaits us in the future? Multiply the Syrian crisis by at least 100 times. How will Russia digest 200 or even 20 million people? I have no answer”.

To be continued.

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