Yes, this is an actual photograph of Moscow. Via Wold Front Page
According to a new report from the World Bank, Russia is screwed. And in case you hadn't inferred, that's not quite a verbatim quote from the report. But it's more or less apt, unfortunately: the study finds that Russia's outdated infrastructure, Soviet "environmental mismanagement," and the extreme nature of its climate, the nation is particularly vulnerable to the threat of climate change. It's screwed.Not sure why I picked today to start doling out blunt terms to those to be afflicted by climate change, but I did. And I've got nothing against Russia--except for the Kremlin's seeming willingness to perpetrate human rights violations, its climate progress-obstructing policies and its crushing suppression of free media--but I've certainly got nothing but sympathy for the Russian people. In fact, I hope Medvedev's government can get the infrastructure up to snuff and start actually engaging productively in climate change talks before it's too late.
Because if this report is even close to accurate, things are going to be bad.
According to Bloomberg:
The world's biggest energy exporter is more exposed to the extremes of an evolving climate than European and Central Asian nations, the Washington-based lender said in a report today. The depth of seasonal melting in areas covered by permafrost may increase by as much as 50 percent by 2050, the bank forecast.Which is, of course, extremely bad news. Severe storms, heat waves, and extreme flooding will all be a part of the fallout that could occur within the next 50 years. And though climate change will hit harder in Russia because of its extensive permafrost, the real reason that the nation is in singular trouble is because of its very poorly prepared cities and towns.
"Poorly constructed, badly maintained, and aging infrastructure and housing -- a legacy of both the Soviet era and the transition years -- are ill-suited to cope with storms, heat waves, or floods, let alone protect people from such extreme events," said the study headed by Zeljko Bogetic, the World Bank's lead economist for Russia . . .Floods or other "extreme events" can cause far greater damage in Russia than would be the case in other parts of the world, the World Bank report said.So it looks like the Economist was wrong--global climate change isn't good for anybody. And while recent, quiet changes to national environmental policy have been encouraging, Russia will have to do a lot more to avoid a grim outcome from climate change.
More on Russia and Climate Change
Seeking Oil, Russia Claims North Pole
Hundreds of Birds Killed in Oil Spill on Russia's Sakhalin Island