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For many years in Russia, the issue of climate change has been largely ignored, and some even believe it could bring benefits.

Global warming is indeed freeing up vast areas of the Arctic platform, opening new maritime routes for trade, while the thawing of permafrost in Siberia is facilitating extractive activities. But all that glitters is not gold…

Russia, the largest country on the planet with a wide variety of climates and biomes, according to "Climate Change Will Reshape Russia" data from 2021, is responsible for 4-5% of global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use and is warming 2.5 times

faster than the rest of the world. Heatwaves, wildfires, and permafrost thawing pose major risks linked to climate change in different regions of Russia's vast territory. In recent decades, Russia has experienced the warmest temperatures ever recorded, contributing to some of the largest wildfires on the planet.

Many Russians still remember the heatwave of summer 2010, one of the deadliest in the country's history with 56,000 deaths in Moscow and the surrounding region due to smog from wildfires engulfing the capital.

About 65% of Russian territory is covered by permafrost. With rising temperatures, this millennia-old frozen soil has begun to thaw. In some areas of Siberia, temperatures have risen by as much as 10°C above the seasonal average. This thawing is already reshaping the tundra landscape and is expected to cause significant damage to human settlements and major energy and transportation infrastructure.

At the current rate of thawing - about 1 degree Celsius per decade - Russia's permafrost layer will cease to freeze completely within three decades. This could release high concentrations of CO2 and methane into the atmosphere, further contributing to terrestrial warming and potentially pushing the planet "to the brink" by 2100.

Climate-induced water stress is already affecting Russia's most fertile regions. As early as 2017, arable lands had decreased by more than half, and in 2020, a 40% drop in wheat harvest was recorded due to drought.

With the shifting of Earth's climate zones, lands once covered by forests are turning into deserts. According to forecasts, desertification could reach Moscow by 2100, and most of the country's tundra and boreal zones could shrink by 75% or disappear altogether, transforming into temperate deserts.

Climate change is exerting the strongest force on Russia's future, reshaping not only its geography but also its politics, economy, and society for decades to come.

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