Climate change could force Russia to move capital to Siberia – expert
Rising temperatures may ultimately leave Moscow uninhabitable, a leading climatologist has claimed
Russia may end up being forced to move its capital to Siberia due to climate change, an expert from the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) branch in the country has warned.
Aleksey Korkorin, who is head of climate and energy at WWF Russia, said on Tuesday that while the goal of reaching “carbon neutrality” could be achieved worldwide as early as the 2060s, the global temperature would still rise by 2-2.5C by that time, compared to the pre-industrial era.
The increase will result in major heat waves hitting the planet more frequently, Kokorin told RIA Novosti.
“That is, the heat that we used to have once every ten years will come every three years. You can live, but you have to adapt,” he stated.
In the worst-case scenario, the global temperature may end up rising by 4.5-5C before humanity is able to reach “carbon neutrality” goals. Such an increase would make every eight or nine summers out of ten extremely hot, Kokorin believes. For Russia, this scenario could result in the capital being moved from Moscow.
“It’s just a different life, which means that in the summer it will probably be impossible to live in such a metropolis as Moscow. It is possible that if it really gets that bad, then the capital will be, say, Krasnoyarsk or Novosibirsk,” Kokorin suggested, referring to two major cities in Siberia. At the same time, he admitted that the chances of the climate situation deteriorating that rapidly remained somewhat slim.
Other climatologists, however, expressed doubts over Kokorin’s concerns for the fate of the Russian capital. Aleksander Chernokulsky, a senior fellow at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, dismissed the prediction as “mere words” which should not be treated seriously.
“Heat waves are very likely to be more frequent, yes, but they will become more frequent in Siberia as well,” the scientist told RBC.