The Valdai Forum 2020 will go down in history as one of the turning points in the acceptance of these processes by society. For the first time, the Russian leadership, business and the scientific community share a common rhetoric, for the first time they all speak together about the need for urgent and comprehensive measures to reduce emissions, writes Alexey Ekaykin, Leading Researcher at the Climate and Environmental Research Laboratory of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute in Saint Petersburg.
On November 4, 2020, the President of the Russian Federation published a decree On the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, which provides for a reduction of emissions to 70% of their 1990 level. Currently Russias emissions are about 50% of their 1990 level. Thus, this decree actually envisages an increase in emissions of 40 percent over the next 10 years.
The situation with the perception of global warming in Russia and throughout the world is somewhat reminiscent of the transformation of societys attitude towards the coronavirus pandemic. If you remember, in the spring, during the first wave, there were a huge number of Covid dissidents, but by autumn their number had noticeably decreased. Its hard not to change your attitude when people you know get sick and die, when social media is full of photos of overcrowded hospitals amid frightening reports of a mounting death toll.
With climate changes, of course, it is more difficult: changes are an order of magnitude slower, the physics of the process is an order of magnitude more difficult to comprehend, and it is also difficult (for anyone who is not a specialist in the field of climatology) to reconcile adverse weather with the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, which, moreover, we cannot feel directly. And yet: during the heat wave in Moscow in 2010, there was still no link in the mass consciousness between this natural disaster and global warming. However, 10 years have passed, and the forest fires of 2019 and 2020, as well as the ongoing environmental catastrophe off the coast of Kamchatka, are already directly linked in the minds of Russian to the adverse anthropogenic impact on our planet.