City sounds: Climate change adaptation strategy in St. Petersburg

Climate change is one of most topical international problems of the 21st century, which goes far beyond the science and research frames and represents an integrated cross-disciplinary issue covering environmental, economic and social aspects of sustainable development.

Climate changes may be diverse. In particular, they can be manifested in the variation of frequency and intensity of climate anomalies and extreme weather events. There is a high chance that the dynamics of observed climate changes is accelerated in the course of the 21st century.

Anticipated climate changes will definitely have an impact on people’s living, on the status of flora and fauna in all regions of the planet, while in some regions they may really endanger people’s welfare and sustainable development.

The climate change impact may appear at global, regional, sub-regional and national levels.
St. Petersburg being a region of the Russian Federation, over the recent 7 years has been implementing activities to mitigate climate change impacts on people and city’s infrastructure.

In 2013 the City Government adopted the Environmental Policy of St. Petersburg for the period to 2030. An important provision of the document is ensuring of ecological safety, prevention of environmental risks and risks caused by climate change. The following measures were planned and are being implemented:

Development of a climate strategy of St. Petersburg;

  • Development and implementation of climate adaptation measures, including integration of the climate change factor in the social and economic development programmes of St. Petersburg;
  • Development and integration of the system of prevention of environmental risks and risks caused by climate change;
  • Operation of an efficient system for the protection of the area of St. Petersburg against dangerous weather and climate events: melioration network, hydraulic facilities, coast protection, measures to prevent negative water impact etc.

At present, based on the Climate Strategy of St. Petersburg, amendments to the following  strategic documents of St. Petersburg were prepared: Action plan to implement the strategy of socio-economic development of St. Petersburg; State programmes of St. Petersburg; Master plan of St. Petersburg. These novelties should make sure that the climate change factors are taken into consideration in the city management processes. The conditions for the assessment and mobilization of the St. Petersburg development potential will be provided through timely adaptation measures, which would allow for reduction and/or prevention of climate risks in the city management, city infrastructure, ecosystems and human health in St. Petersburg.

The first step to the Climate Strategy implementation in practice will be the Concept for adaptive water and sewerage systems management in St. Petersburg. Based on the Concept developed will be:

  • Recommendations for adaptation of water resources to climate change in St. Petersburg;
  • Recommendations for adaptation of the sewerage system to climate change in St. Petersburg;
  • List of principles for the establishment of an integral management system for water resources and sewerage systems in St. Petersburg.

The duration of the Concept activity: to the year 2050.

Marine erosion and stabilization process

Ivan A. Serebritsky

Deputy Head, Committee for Nature Use, Environmental Protection and Ecological Safety,
City of St. Petersburg

Read also an article St. Petersburg's Action Plan for Climate Change Adaptation in the Urban Environment Management by Serebritsky;