Russia sets up polygons to control greenhouse emissions — Analysis

It is necessary to have a global approach when dealing with climate change on large areas. That’s why Russia’s universities are developing special research territories to investigate carbon dioxide absorption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Globally, reducing greenhouse gases is an important priority. Russia also faces this problem. Scientists are now looking at new solutions. Now, the country’s universities are taking the lead – especially those who participate in the academic leadership program ‘Priority 2030.’

It’s a major initiative for universities, launched in 2021, which aims to boost education and research programs. Plus, the program wants the country’s higher education centers to become more attractive for foreign students and scientists. Priority 2030 opened for business this summer, and after several months over a hundred of Russia’s universities were chosen as participants. They would each receive 100 million rubles (1.4 million USD) per year for development. A number of applicants applied for special grants that could allow them to get up to 1 million rubles (13.6 million dollars) each year.

Carbon polygon is on the Western flank

One of the participants, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University in Kaliningrad, inaugurated the “Rosyanka” carbon polygon in November. The carbon polygon, which is an area where scientists study how carbon dioxide is absorbed or emitted, is unique. Such research platforms are being developed in different parts of Russia – the country’s territory is huge, so it’s crucial to have data from everywhere, given the climate differences. Russia’s Ministry of Science and Higher Education launched the creation of carbon polygons in February 2021.

One of the most unique is located in Kaliningrad. It has two different parts of over 255 hectares combined: one on-land in the Vittgirren peat bog, and one in the Baltic sea’s Gdansk Trench. Kant University’s rector, Alexander Fyodorov, told RT that Russia has only two polygons of this type – the other one is in Gelendzhik, Southern Russia. “On the sea part we investigate methane streams,”He explains. The trench itself is a methane anomaly – there is ten times more of the gas concentrated at its bottom than in the surrounding water.

On the ground, there is a portable laboratory with solar battery storage. Researchers are conducting air and water express testing, drilling peat, and measuring its carbon content. The scientists are also trying to determine if secondary flooding will transform peat bogs from carbon dioxide emitters to absorbers.

“Every carbon polygon is unique,” Fyodorov says. “The territories chosen for them show the special character of every region.”

The university’s researcher Leyla Bashirova told RT that there’s a plan to create a joint monitoring system in Russia, so the data gathered at the polygon would be used there. She explained that scientists now have to observe the environment closely. “Then, we would apply measures to control greenhouse emissions and use different technologies to reduce them,”Sie said.

All across Russia, polygons

Tyumen State University is an academic leader program Priority 2030 participant. They will coordinate the network carbon polygons being made in Western Siberia. That’s according to its rector, Ivan Romanchuk, who added that the university aims to become a center for education of professionals for the whole country.

Tumen University has opened its carbon polygon at Lake Kuchak since August. To gather data about the environment, scientists use both aerial and land-based systems. This information will be used to improve agricultural and forest recreation.

Ural Federal University also opened its carbon polygon, called “Ural-Carbon,” in October. The polygon is situated on Kourovka Astronomical observatory’s territory and covers more than 300 ha. It includes all types of infrastructure for investigation, including a laboratory and lecture rooms.

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