Country Background Information – Russian Federation


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  • snow

    The climate of Russia is continental, with hot, dry summers and extremely cold winters – particularly in Siberia. The Western parts of the country have the most rain. During winter, snow cover lasts from 60 to 80 days in the south and from 260 to 280 days in the far North.

  • oil

    Russia is the world’s top oil producer. Because of its large oil and gas industry, Russia has a high-emission and energy-inefficient economy.

  • Moscow

    Moscow is the capital city of the Russian Federation, the largest country in the world by land area, which spans 11 time zones and accounts for 1/8 of the world’s land area. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of its population live in European Russia.

  • Kremlin

    The Russian Federation, commonly known as Russia, emerged when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991. In 2016, Russia agreed to sign the Paris Agreement but as of June 2017, has not ratified it yet while it reviews the impact of the Agreement on its economy.

  • mining

    Russia has the second largest coal reserves in the world. Coal accounts for 14% of its domestic energy production. This proportion is falling as it is being replaced by gas, nuclear and renewable energy.

  • tundra

    Vast areas of northern Russia are covered in tundra, where the ground remains frozen and precipitation is very low. Recent changes in weather have resulted in milder winter temperatures, affecting not only pasture for reindeers but also the movement of the indigenous peoples of the arctic tundra. As the tundra warms, there are complex changes to the local carbon cycle.

    Source: Flickr / Ninara

  • arctic sea trade

    Russia is warming 1.5 times faster than other parts of the world. Increases in temperature have caused a decline in the Arctic sea ice. This opens up shorter trade routes which could potentially benefit the Russian and global economy. Ships are a major emitter of greenhouse gases.

    Source: Flickr / Christopher Michel

  • district heating

    Russia has the longest hot water and district heating network in the world. Heating for houses and hot water is centrally provided through an inefficient pipe network from local heat generation plants. There are no heating controls in many older houses apart from opening the window.

    Source: Flickr / Vera

  • wheat

    13% of Russia is classified as agricultural land, but only 7% of it is cultivated. Since 2000, the country has become a major grain exporter. Since 2014, Russia has introduced laws restricting the import of food from many countries.

    Source: Wikimedia Commons / Sergey Ashmarin

  • The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed, commonly known as Saint Basil’s Cathedral, is a 16th century church in the Red Square in Moscow, Russia and a major tourist attraction. Orthodox Christianity is the main religion in Russia, but Islam, Buddhism and Judaism are also important.

Further Materials (higher level learners) – Russian Federation

  • Climate Action Tracker country profile
  • Climate change in Russia’s Arctic tundra: ‘Our reindeer go hungry. There isn’t enough pasture’ and Russia pledges not to stand in the way of Paris climate deal
    from the Guardian.
  • Russia’s position on climate change before the 2015 Paris COP.
  • Russia’s emission history and projections from Climate Action Tracker.
  • Putin addressing COP21
  • General Information

  • Background Information from the UN
  • A good overview from the World Bank.
  • World Bank Africa Climate Business Plan
  • World Bank Climate Change Action Plan 2016-2020
  • CCAFS big facts
  • 2050 calculator tool for the UK
  • A history of climate change negotiations and another one.
  • A guide to COP21 in Paris from the Guardian.