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Climate risk profile: Belarus
This profile provides an overview of climate risk issues in the Republic of Belarus, including how climate change will potentially impact human health, water resources, energy, forestry, and agriculture. The brief includes an overview and climate summary of Belarus, as well as projected climate changes. Also included is information on sector impacts and vulnerabilities to climate change, the policy context and information regarding ongoing climate change projects in Belarus.
The country faces significant climate change related threats. Temperatures, floods, droughts, and precipitation patterns have begun to diverge from historical patterns, which will impact multiple sectors. Water, while abundant within Belarus, may deteriorate in quality due to increased flooding, extreme rain events, and changes in runoff patterns. Furthermore, changing rainfall patterns and flooding may alter the distribution of dangerous radionuclides, particularly in food and water resources, found in southern Belarus as a result of the 1986 Chernobyl accident.
In a country with almost 43 percent forested land, rising temperatures are likely to change ecosystem function, forest composition, and certain species of trees, such as spruce, will suffer. Drought and increased temperatures could make forests more vulnerable to climate-related threats, such as disease outbreaks and forest fires. Climate change may also provide potential opportunities for Belarus. As temperatures warm, arable land may increase and expand northwards and forests may increase in size. However, the negative impacts of climate change appear to outweigh these potential benefits.