A new study indicates Russia might like global warming

Published by Mali Kakembo on

A new study by leading voices on global warming has called out world leaders for taking insufficient steps in tackling climate change.

However, one name stands out in the finger-pointing. The line “Russia has not even submitted a climate pledge” is brutally blunt. Why doesn’t Russia even pretend they’ll make the effort to help the planet?

A growing number of people say it’s because an icy giant in Russia’s position has plenty to gain from the world heating up by a few degrees.

On the most basic level, Russia like the US, are worried about the world turning to alternative sources of energy. The two are the world’s largest producers of oil and gas combined.

Russias however, stands to have geographical aspects of their territory boosted hugely by the world heating up a few degrees.

Russia’s icy north blocks in boats and offers awful living conditions. If the sea begins to melt though, trade from Asia will now have the option of shaving weeks off transportation. By following the Russian coast cargo companies can save millions avoiding the Suez Canal monopoly. This is no minor opportunity and offers an opportunity to turn previously unusable territories into grand centres of trade.

The melting of permafrost in areas like Yakutia could also potentially open up huge swathes of land for agriculture. Previously inhospitable lands could become a further income source as icy lands turn into farms.

Putin is aware of these possibilities too. At the 2017 Arctic Forum he described climate change as a “factor that bolsters optimism”.

That isn’t to say the sea and land will just be heated into profitability. Setting up the infrastructure to funnel such large amounts of cargo through will require new infrastructure. Growing food in lands that have existed as ice since before living memory will also require a challenging transfer of resources and know-how. Old farmlands too will need to be adjusted for the rising temperatures.

That’s all without also taking on that which can’t be adjusted to with money.

Irreparable natural disasters will also be cause for grave concern. Wildfires and floods have already started to affect areas in Russia, just as they have around the world. Shocking data shows the temperature is rising twice as fast in Russia as the world average. The hurdles are arriving steeply and quickly.

Although there will be shaky moments in Russia’s near future, the positives are vast and unique.

Alex Jones and the conspiracy theorists may start talking about some giant radiator hidden in The Kremlin soon. Saying they’re responsible is ridiculous, but global warming is far less black and white for Russia. Earth’s imminent shake-up could halt Russia’s slide down the global pecking order.

There’s a clear lack of positives for almost any other country. A southern hemisphere exodus could cause havoc for rivals neighboured to impoverished populated regions, such as Latin American migrants to the US or African migrants to Europe. Russia is bordered by vast empty lands however and has been trying to increase its population for decades anyhow. Russia is looking at a far less bleak picture than its rivals.

Climate change isn’t predictable or manageable enough for any sane world leader to be in favour of it. For a country that exports the energy and is wearing the most protection though, a shake-up of the world order might be tempting.


Mali Kakembo

I'm an enthusiastic journalist at MaliKakembo.co.uk that geeks out over hip-hop and history in my free time. In my own time, I play football poorly and daydream of skiing more often.