Permafrost Degradation and Coastal Erosion in the US and Russia: Opportunities for Collaboration in Addressing Shared Climate Change Impacts
The United States (US) and Russia are among the main contributors to Climate Change (as the 2nd and 4th largest emitters of greenhouse gases worldwide, accordingly), and have vast territories impacted environmentally and economically by this scientific and social phenomenon. The northern territories of both countries are especially vulnerable. In this article, we focus on coastal erosion and permafrost degradation, two Climate Change indicators that impact both Russia and the US, and for which the consequences will be disastrous without sufficient adaptation measures. We highlight the importance of cooperation across borders at the inter-regional level, considering the ambiguity of both American and Russian federal climate policies. The paper is divided as follows: (1) background on the science of Climate Change, permafrost thaw, coastal erosion, and the community impacts of permafrost degradation and coastal erosion in Alaska and Russia; (2) an overview of existing relocation and adaptation efforts for relevant communities and infrastructure in both countries; (3) a proposal of subnational cooperation between the US and Russia as a promising avenue for bilateral cooperation on these shared challenges, with a focus on the potential for cooperation between the regions of Tyumen, Alaska, and California.