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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Russia, for one, welcomes global warming

Russia was only coaxed into signing the Kyoto Protocol in exchange for being allowed to join the World Trade Organisation. As it turns out, they are expected to have no trouble meeting their 0 per cent target largely because their economy has collapsed.

The Russians are now putting their hopes in climate change to open up shipping lanes and turn their perma-frosted land into something productive:

All across Russia, the prospect of global warming appears to present new opportunities: exploration of oil and gas fields in Siberia and construction of pipelines linking those fields with Europe and China would be cheaper; agriculture would pick up from Karelia, north of St Petersburg, to Chukotka, in the far east; more tourists would come; more timber would be harvested; deaths from exposure to cold would fall; and the quality of life of vast swathes of the country – 60 per cent of Russia is covered in permafrost – would (quite possibly) rise.
All of which makes perfect sense. However, this raises the question - if it makes perfect sense to the Russians, why doesn't this logic make sense to others in similar latitudes, like the Canadians and northern Europeans?

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