WWF UK

Russia and neighbouring countries: environmental, economic and social impacts of climate change

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Global warming is set to wreak havoc in Russia and other ex-Soviet Union states unless drastic action is taken, according to a new report compiled by WWF-Russia and the British charity Oxfam.

The 52-page report was timed to coincide with the recent G8 summit in Japan, where leaders of the world's richest countries were criticized for the targets they set on the reduction of harmful emissions.

“We must understand that damage caused by climate change is here and now rather than a problem in the distant future, in distant lands. There’s a lot at stake, including our health and even our lives,” said Igor Chestin, WWF-Russia CEO.

The report – ‘Russia and neighbouring countries: environmental, economic and social impacts of climate change’ – highlights key evidence linking climate change to failing health.

According to the report, climate change is considered to be one of the most serious environmental threats to people’s health, along with other risk factors such as air and water pollution, smoking and drug abuse.

Persistently higher temperatures caused by global warming is leading to a sharp increase in several serious and potentially lethal illnesses such as heart disease, intestinal diseases, tick encephalitis, tick borelliosis (Lyme disease) and malaria.

The report also focuses on the economic consequences of climate change for Russia, Central Asia, Mongolia and northern China.

According to the report, global energy problems are mainly affecting the poorest groups of population.

“Climate change has the capacity to generate a whole new category of refugees, poor people forced to flee their homes, regions and even countries as a result of climate stress,” said Nicholas Colloff, Country Director of Oxfam GB.

“Urgent action needs to be taken to reduce the very real risk of this potential crisis from arising.”

The report also recommends solutions to the problems presented by climate change – both measures to mitigate human-induced climate change in the future, and ways to adapt to irreversible changes.

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