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Feature Story May 4, 2007
 
The Bored Whore Of Kyoto
European Johns line up to tap Russia's carbon reduction potential By Alexander Zaitchik Browse author Email
 
Page 4 of 4
 

In Easterbrook's crack-pipe analysis, the biggest winner of all is Russia. Ever the spaz, Easterbrook can barely contain his excitement:

And Russia! Climate change could place Russia in possession of the largest new region of pristine, exploitable land since the sailing ships of Europe first spied...North America. What's more, the land beneath Siberia's snow could hold vast deposits of fossil fuels. Why did the Moscow government drag its feet when considering ratification of the Kyoto Protocol? Perhaps because Russia might be much better off in a warming world.

You read that right. "Pristine, exploitable land [and] vast deposits of fossil fuels." Global warming will be good for Russia because it will unearth more fossil fuels, which can then be burned, leading to accelerated warming, unearthing more fossil fuels, which can then be burned...

The thing is, Gregg, that's not just "snow" out there in the frozen Eurasian expanse. It's permafrost. Millions and millions of acres of it. And when it thaws it will release Doomsday amounts of the potent heat-trapping gas methane, long before the fossil fuels underneath can be tapped and burned to fuel the lifestyles of middle-class carbon offsetters.

Another obvious downside to Russia's great thaw is the havoc it will wreak on transcontinental infrastructure, including oil and gas pipelines. Already, settlements dotting the tundra and taiga are feeling the effects of shifting foundations. Buildings and homes situated on melting permafrostare are developing cracks that grow every year. It's possible that by 2100 few houses will be left standing in great swaths of the country's far east and north. According to some estimates based on current rates of warming, Russia and Canada could lose up to half of their habitats by 2100.

If Easterbrook's Panglossian argument that climate change will be good for Russia sounds familiar, it's because Vladimir Putin has said the same thing. In 2003, he joked that global warming would benefit Russians because it would save them money on fur hats in the coming century. True. But accompanying the collapse of the fur hat industry will be an increasing number of mass murderous heat waves. If an elderly Easterbrook and Putin succumb to one of these, someone make sure to plant leucaena saplings on their graves.


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Zaitchik
Browse author
Alexander Zaitchik is an editor at The eXile. Email him at zaitchik@gmail.com
 
 
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