Why Russia Wants Crimea

Why Russia Wants Crimea

When Russia signed the Treaty of Paris in 1856, accepting defeat in the Crimean War—which had decimated its military and ruined its economy—it agreed to dismantle its naval base in the port city of Sevastopol. These were the terms demanded by Britain, France and their allies, who sought to eliminate Russia as a military threat in the Black Sea.

But the concession didn’t last long.

Russia began to rebuild Sevastopol during the Franco-Prussian War, in 1870. And throughout history, Russian leaders would return to Crimea again and again. After Germany’s bombing of Crimea during World War II, much of Sevastopol was in ruins. But Joseph Stalin declared the port a “hero city” and ordered it restored to its former neoclassical beauty.

Indeed, the Crimean peninsula has loomed large for Russian leaders ever since Russian Tsarina Catherine the Great annexed it from the Ottoman Empire in 1783. The strategically located peninsula, which is officially part of Ukraine, has given Russia military leverage not only in the Black Sea, but the greater Mediterranean region. After the fall of the Soviet Union, a 1997 treaty with Ukraine allowed Russia to keep its Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, under a lease that has been extended until 2042.

June 1942: A warship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet shelling German and Romanian positions near Sevastopol (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)

But in 2014, Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in an illegal move that violated the territorial integrity of the former Soviet republic, and sparked a war that has displaced nearly 2 million people and destroyed the country’s infrastructure. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s justifies the aggression, in part, by asserting that Crimea is mostly comprised of ethnic Russians.

The peninsula has a complicated history.

For hundreds of years, Crimea has been the home of Tatars, a group of Turkic speakers who lived under the Ottoman Empire until Catherine the Great annexed the region. In 1944, Stalin deported about 200,000 Tatars to Siberia and Central Asia, calling the ethnic Muslims traitors to the USSR and bringing in ethnic Russians to replenish the workforce. And after Stalin’s death, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev transferred Crimea to Ukraine in a move hailed as a “noble act on behalf of the Russian people.” The transfer was praised at the 1954 meeting of the Presidium of the USSR Soviet Supreme, the Soviet Union’s highest legislative body.

“Comrades…The transfer of the Crimean Oblast (or region) to the Ukrainian SSR is occurring in remarkable days,” said Soviet politician Sharof Rashidov. “This is possible only in our country, where there is no ethnic strife and there are no national differences, where the lives of all the Soviet peoples pass in an atmosphere of peaceful constructive work in the name of the peace and happiness of all humanity…”

“Comrades!…Only in our country is it possible that such a great people as the Russian people magnanimously transferred one of the valuable oblasts to another fraternal people without any hesitation,” said Otto Wille Kuusinen, another Communist Party leader.

But for all the talk about unity and cooperation, recent documents suggest Khrushchev’s move was motivated more by political calculation than goodwill. It was designed to appease Ukrainian leadership and solidify his position in the power struggle that emerged after Stalin’s death in 1953.


Of Russian origin: Taiga

The Russian miracle

Taiga is the largest type of forest on the Earth. Its huge territory accounts for one-fifth of the world’s total forested land and contains as much as one-half of the world’s evergreen forests.

The taiga is one of the world’s largest terrestrial ecosystems. It is a great example of how nature strives through the harshest of weather conditions.The word taiga comes from Turkish and it means “coniferous forests.”

These forests represent the largest, oldest and snowiest type of land territory, covering extremely large areas in northern Russia, mostly Siberia. In some places, the width of these forests reaches several thousand kilometers. The taiga takes up about 11 percent of the Northern Hemisphere.

Similar forests can be found in areas of Eurasia and North America, and mountain regions of Northern Europe. The areas covered by this type of forest are larger in Russia than anywhere else in the world. The taiga is sometimes referred to as a Russian miracle.

The taiga forests have one of the coldest biomes on Earth its temperatures vary considerably in the winter and summer.

The temperature in the summer is usually around 10 degrees Celsius and never higher than 20 degrees. Even though summers are mostly warm, they are very brief — for a large part of the year, the sun does not rise too far above the horizon. Winters last up to six months, with the average temperature far below freezing.

Most of the year, however, the temperature of minus 50 degrees Celsius is considered normal. The lowest temperature that can be experienced in the taiga is said to be MINUS 68 degrees Celsius.

Those who have experienced the taiga, say living there is cold and lonely. The spring and autumn are so brief, you hardly know they exist at all.

Taiga flora and fauna — adapting to the weather

The soil in the taiga is thin and poor in nutrients. This contributes to the fact that most trees in the taiga grow close to the ground and their roots don’t go too far into the soil. Even though the taiga is mostly coniferous – dominated by larch, spruce, fir, and pine, some broadleaf trees can also been seen here. For example birch, aspen, willow, and rowan. A lot of the trees found in the taiga change their biochemistry throughout the year, so they have the strength to better resist freezing. Taiga is also no stranger to moss and bogs.

Nowhere else in the world is there such a large number of furry animals than in the taiga. Large herbivorous animals and small rodents are residents in these forests – bears, weasels, raccoons, wolves, lynxes, rabbits and squirrels. They are well adapted to the harsh weather.

Often, the larger animals eat a lot during the warmer months, gain a lot of weight, and then sleep through the colder months when they hibernate. The animals that don’t hibernate generally become less active.

About 300 species of birds spend summers in the taiga. Only about 30 species stick around for the winter – the ones with more feathers to keep them warm. The taiga produces an enormous amount of oxygen – it is said to generate enough oxygen on its own to re-generate enough oxygen for the entire planet.

One of the most serious threats to the taiga is deforestation for human purposes. And this practice has been on the rise in recent years. A lot of animals of the taiga are hunted and trapped for their rich furs. This plays a major role in the decline of their populations. Global warming is also a reason for concern.

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After a mild winter, be wary of ticks, potential for Lyme Disease

When 9-year-old Hunter Sauers of Mifflinburg complained of joint pain in the early summer six years ago, his family assumed it was from the normal wear-and-tear of a growing young boy at the tail end of a busy baseball season.

When the headaches began, his mother, Nina, attributed it to him being due for new glasses.

“It was the summertime, and he was a growing boy playing baseball and being active,” she said. “But then he developed a ring-like rash. Then it turned into several rings and it was treated like ringworm, but the antifungal cream didn’t work. Soon the rash was running from head to toe.”

Meanwhile, Hunter’s other symptoms intensified.

“My stomach wasn’t feeling well. My knees hurt and I had a lot of headaches. I was really tired all of the time,” he said. “When I started getting sick to my stomach and the rash got worse, we figured it was more than a cold or the flu.”

Under the care of Dr. Elam Stoltzfus and his colleagues, of Lewisburg Pediatrics, Hunter received the diagnosis of Lyme Disease.

“We never saw a tick, but we were told that sometimes you don’t — that tiny nymph-stage ticks can be as small as a piece of pepper,” Nina said. “It is amazing that something so tiny can have that big of an effect.”

After a regimen of antibiotics, Hunter, now 15, has been symptom-free for several years.

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Agency’s awareness

Mike Parker, communications director for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, said his agency takes a variety of steps to prevent similar issues for their agents who spend so much time outdoors.

“Our staff, volunteers and waterways conservation officers are out and about, and we can wind up in some pretty remote places, especially as trout stocking season kicks into full gear,” he said. “We give employees tools such as repellent with DEET to use in the field, and some of the clothing we issue has been pre-treated to help repel ticks.”

The agency also promotes awareness while on outdoor assignments.

“We’re out walking through the woods and high grassy fields — you’d be surprised what terrain we cover just to stock trout in the spring,” Parker said. “We encourage all of our workers — and really everyone who goes outdoors — to check each other before climbing into the car for any ticks.”

The mild winter is increasing concern that tick numbers will be on the rise in 2020.

“We have seen that phenomenon in the past — milder winters is thought to contribute to the spread of ticks beyond the normal areas seen historically,” said Dr. Stanley Martin, of Geisinger Medical Center. “The number of cases of Lyme disease overall have grown quite a bit over the past 20 years, although it seemed pretty stable overall last year.”

According to Parker, the increase in tick sightings may not be strictly due to the milder winters in past years.

“We are definitely more aware of ticks and Lyme disease. We are paying much closer attention and mindfully watching for ticks,” he said, adding that even when we hit cold snaps and snowy weather, the ticks still seem to persevere.

“I take my children out for mentor youth day. We have been out there in days where there is still snow and the last thing you are thinking about are ticks,” he said. “But just because you are out there and it is snowy, that doesn’t mean the ticks aren’t out there — you still need to be aware.”

A big part of prevention is dressing appropriately for outdoor activities.

“The main recommendation is to wear long pants and long socks,” Parker said. “When possible, tuck those pants into a sock or boot to give ticks less place to crawl into clothing. This time of year, people are still going to dress warmer with layers, which helps, but it is also a good idea to use repellent and to check yourself thoroughly when done outdoors.”

Addressing the disease

According to Martin, Lyme disease is easily treatable with a regimen of antibiotics.

“For patients who clearly meet the definition of Lyme, we typically use Doxycycline, and it can be treated in 10 to 14 days,” he said. “For those in the later stages with migratory arthritis, we may treat it longer than a month. Those who take numerous months and still are struggling typically are dealing with other problems beyond Lyme disease.”

Classic symptoms, similar to those experienced by Hunter, include a bull’s-eye rash around the initial tick bite — but that isn’t always noticed or pronounced, according to Martin. Other symptoms associated with the condition include joint pain, headaches and in some cases, Bell’s palsy.

“Overall, we preach an ounce of prevention versus a pound of cure. Take steps to avoid potential tick bites,” Martin said. “If you do wind up with a tick on you, don’t panic. There is no need to rush to the doctor. Remove it and only come in if you start to feel unwell or notice a rash.”

In terms of the greater medical community’s divide over the longstanding impact of Lyme disease, Martin urged caution.

“Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation about Lyme disease on the internet. People always seem to know someone who suffers greatly because of Lyme, but many times it is from other diseases or issues that contribute to the problem,” he said. “In my opinion, Lyme is not a chronic infection — and you don’t need extended treatments of antibiotics.”

Editor’s note: A variety of private practice doctors who feel Lyme disease is much more involved were contacted for this story, including ones recommended by readers during previous stories on the condition, but every one of them refused to go on the record for this story.

(c)2020 The Daily Item (Sunbury, Pa.)


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Ticks like moist and humid environments and can be found in or near woods, shrubs, leaf litter, long grass, urban parks and gardens. They are very small, which makes them hard to spot and their bites don’t hurt, which makes it difficult to know when you’ve been bitten.

Tick-borne illnesses are preventable by taking some simple precautions.

Reduce your risk

  • Wear long pants and long sleeves in areas likely to have ticks
  • Wear light coloured clothing – its easier to see ticks
  • Wear enclosed shoes and tuck your pants into your socks
  • Walk on well-travelled paths, avoiding long grass and vegetation
  • Apply insect repellents containing DEET or Icaridin to exposed skin and clothes. Follow directions on the package carefully.

Check for ticks

  • Check yourself and your family for ticks after being outside
  • Having a bath or shower within two hours of coming inside makes it easier to spot ticks and wash off unattached ticks
  • Ticks like warm places on the body. Remember to check:
    • around ears
    • behind knees
    • in the hair
    • between the legs/groin area
    • around the waist
  • If you see a tick, remove it safely (see below)
  • If you have pets that spend time outside, make tick-checks part of your daily routine. Dogs can’t transmit tick-borne illnesses to people, but ticks are hitchhikers. They can enter your home on your pet and move to you or another family member.
  • Put clean and dry outdoor clothes in a dryer on high heat for at least 10 minutes to kill any remaining ticks

Remove a tick safely

  • Carefully grasp the tick with tweezers – the pointier, the better — as close to the skin as possible
  • Gently and slowly pull the tick straight out of the skin. Do not jerk, twist or squeeze it
  • Once the tick is removed, clean the area of the bite with soap and water or alcohol hand sanitizer.
  • Make a note of the date and where on the body the bite occurred. This will be important if you, or a loved one, begin to feel unwell.

Disposal of ticks

Once removed, flush the tick down toilet, drown in rubbing alcohol or freeze in a plastic sealed bag prior to putting in the garbage. Avoid crushing ticks with exposed fingers.

Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease

Only the blacklegged tick can transmit Lyme disease, and in most cases, a tick carrying the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease must attach and feed for at least 24 hours before the bacteria can be transmitted. Lyme disease is treatable with a short course of antibiotics.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease include:

  • Rash (sometimes shaped like a bull’s eye)
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches


So Many Ticks Were Feasting on This Unlucky Python, They Looked Like Living Scales

By Mindy Weisberger 15 January 2019

When Tony Harrison with Gold Coast and Brisbane Snake Catcher attempted to retrieve the snake from a swimming pool, he noticed that the partly submerged serpent was blanketed in more ticks than Harrison could count, he said on Jan. 9 in a post shared on Facebook.

«I figured it to be at least a couple hundred,» he said on Jan. 10 in a Facebook video.

Harrison brought the snake to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital Foundation in Queensland, where 511 ticks were removed from the python’s body. The snake, dubbed Nike, was finally pronounced tick-free on Jan. 12, but was still «very unwell» with anemia, hospital representatives wrote on Facebook. [8 Awful Parasite Infections That Will Make Your Skin Crawl]

Here are about half of the ticks that Nike was carrying on his head and body. (Image credit: Gold Coast and Brisbane Snake Catcher)

Before his visit to the hospital, Nike was in a bad way. Clusters of ticks studded the python’s head and body; some were small and flattened, while others were swollen and bloated with blood. It was a parasitic infestation the likes of which Harrison had never seen in 26 years of snake catching, according to the Facebook post.

Ticks are often associated with mammals; but snakes and other reptiles are frequently parasitized by these bloodsucking arthropods, Rebecca Trout Fryxell, an assistant professor in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, told Live Science in an email.

In fact, a recent survey of nearly 2,000 wild Australian snakes found that 30 percent of them carried ticks, and that ticks were more common in woodland habitats, researchers reported in February 2018 in the journal Austral Ecology.

Size differences in the ticks infesting Nike represented different sexes and life stages, «and the amount of blood consumed by the tick,» Fryxell explained. For example, a well-fed adult female tick is substantially bigger than a larval tick that has yet to consume a blood meal, she said.

See also:  Colorado Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases

That’s. a lot of ticks. (Image credit: Gold Coast and Brisbane Snake Catcher)

An extreme infestation such as this likely happened because the snake was already sick, likely with a compromised immune system, Emily Taylor, a professor of biological sciences at California Polytechnic State University, told Live Science. When a tick bites an animal and injects anticoagulants from its saliva, the animal sets off an immune response that can kill the tick or slow down its feeding. However, if an animal’s immune response is dampened, «you may see a greater number of ticks feeding or concluding their feeding,» Taylor said.

And sated female ticks can lay thousands of eggs. If the eggs are fertilized, this can blanket the host with more hungry mouths to feed, Fryxell said.

Though bites from a few ticks usually won’t hurt an animal too much, blood loss caused by hundreds of them at a time could be fatal — especially if an animal is already sick, Taylor explained.

«It’s a bad sign in general when an animal has that many parasites on it,» she said.

Found partly submerged in a swimming pool, a tick-infested python may have been seeking relief in the cool water. (Image credit: Gold Coast and Brisbane Snake Catcher)

Because Nike was found in a pool, Harrison speculated on Facebook that the snake was trying to drown the ticks; however, this behavior has never been documented in snakes, Taylor said.

Then again, «nature works in weird ways,» she added. «It could be that, having all those ticks on it kind of instinctively activated the animal to go and seek water,» Taylor said. «Or it could have just been a coincidence. We have no real way of knowing.»

For now, Nike is still resting at the wildlife facility, while doctors work to clear up «a nasty infection» that may have immobilized him and allowed the ticks to make their move, hospital representatives reported on Facebook. They are hopeful that he will recover completely and return to the wild in the coming months.

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Russia Signs Climate Accords & Putin Responds To Climate Change, But There’s A Catch

October 4th, 2019 by Chanan Bos

When even Russia starts to believe in climate change, the world really is coming to an end. Yet to everyone’s surprise, that is exactly what happened. Russia just joined the Paris climate accords. This means so many things all at once, but first, we need to get out of the way the fact that a lot of people in the US still don’t believe in climate change. This has just become even more absurd than before, because if even Russia believes in it, how can those people still claim otherwise? In any case, back to Russia. For a long time, Russia had a bit of a funny perspective of climate change, which is something along the lines of “It doesn’t exist, but if it did it would be great for Russia since we can get more oil and gas from areas that are currently hard to explore.” So in its quest to fuel the world’s fossil fuel addiction, Russia built a lot of valuable infrastructure throughout its country.

A bit of background

Let’s start with the basics, because it will come in handy later. Russia is the largest country in the world by landmass, but not as large as a lot of people might think by looking at a standard map of the world, which is warped because you can’t make a globe flat without distorting things. Here is a good link showing that. In Russia, only a small part of the country, the southwest, can be used for farming and livestock. That is why most of the population lives in the western part near Europe and is pretty cut off from the rest of the country by the Ural mountains. The rest of the country is made up of dense forest, mountains, permafrost, and ice, and the population there is mostly around 1 person per square kilometer or less — mostly less. The north side of the the country is all permafrost, which as the name suggests stays frozen permanently and thus makes accessing the world’s oceans through that coast unpractical. Then further south there are regions that keep melting and refreezing depending on the season. This, as well as the dense vegetation, are just two of many reasons why traversing the country is very difficult, with the exception of the railroad located mostly near the southern border. The only benefit of having an empty country this large is that there are precious resources scattered all around that can give a country a big advantage. The biggest advantage thus far has been fossil fuels like oil and gas with pipes and critical infrastructure going from the Siberian region all the way to the (non-northern) corners of Eurasia.

The threats of climate change

The old & less critical

One of the issues that has been plaguing the central and eastern areas pretty much since forever have been forest fires, as they are a natural phenomenon. Technically speaking, if you have nothing in the area and you don’t care about emissions or loss of biodiversity, it’s not that much of a problem. Just let the fire burn itself out, or rain will eventually put out the fire. However, with the climate destabilizing so rapidly, the forest fires have increased in frequency and severity and are becoming more of a menace than before. Also, since the world is now starting to care about things like climate change, emissions, and biodiversity, the country’s prosperity is at risk. It is only a matter of time until the world will refuse Russia’s oil and gas and even start putting pressure on the country, to not only stop producing fossil fuels but also to control all its emissions, including forest fires. That is not the case yet however, since as its forests were burning this summer, Putin refused Trump’s offer to help put out the fires. Although even with all that help it would still be a nearly impossible task.

The new & more immediate threat

It was all over the news this summer, as something a lot of people — including myself — consider the absolute biggest climate change threat out there, both for its potential severity as well as a huge knowledge gap: permafrost. Permafrost is permanently frozen ground. It covers the top half of both Canada as well as Russia. There is a top layer of soil that melts and freezes with each season, but everything underneath it remains frozen year round, or at least it used to. This frozen ground has so much methane and CO2 trapped in it that if it starts to melt and release that gas into the atmosphere, we won’t stay under 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius but will likely shoot right past to 4 degrees and above.

When it comes to climate change and the efforts in the past two decades, they show you the polar bears losing their home and ice melting. Obviously that ice is very important, since it reflects sunlight that keeps the earth cool, and because so much ice has accumulated over many millennia the oceans are at the levels they are today, which is something that is also changing. One reason scientists like to focus on the ice is because it’s easy to reach, and it can easily be monitored with satellites and with on the ground sensors. The permafrost, however, is often very hard to reach, hard to measure, and hard to keep track of. It may even be the more immediate threat, but we know relatively little about it compared to the ice caps. One thing is for sure, the permafrost does have a tipping point and its melting will likely cause something called a positive feedback loop where some gas release will cause warming and in turn cause even more gas release, and on and on the cycle will go, quickly shooting us past 2 degrees Celsius. In the last few years, and especially this summer, we have seen that the top layer no longer refreezes in winter, and the deeper permafrost is starting to melt and at a pace much much faster than we ever thought possible. Once again, since the scientific community never really looked into it to the extent that it looked into all the shiny ice melting, we don’t know what will happen or when, but it doesn’t look good.

Now why is this an issue to Russia? Well it does have some people living in those areas that depend on the permafrost for purposes like natural year round refrigeration of goods, but that is not a priority for Russia. The biggest problem is that the permafrost that used to stay frozen is turning into a swamp, and that has a dire consequence. The foundation for all infrastructure is built atop the solid permafrost that never melted. Now that it is melting for the first time, every manmade structure is at risk of collapse. Now while that is life threatening to a lot of people, it also threatens Russia’s main source of income. Oil and gas fields are located under the permafrost and a lot of the pipes are also built on top of permafrost. If the fossil fuel infrastructure collapses as well as the pipes, then that is a financial disaster for it, as well as a potential environmental disaster. Even if the country wanted to keep earning money on the world’s slow demise and eventually slowly switch to renewables, it now suddenly needs to do something immediately to prevent a loss of income and energy generation capacity. As some research notes, the production capacity of all existing facilities has already declined because the foundation can no longer bear the load. Some have declined as little as 2% and some have declined by more than 20% since the 1990s. This also puts at risk all current development plans and facilities that are currently under construction that is supposed to supply oil and gas to China.

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Putin’s words on Greta Thunberg & Renewables

You may have heard that Putin criticized Greta Thunberg recently, but unfortunately I must say the media has not done a great job at presenting what the Russian president has said, at best only presenting a sliver of Putin’s response that doesn’t paint the full picture. Here is something you won’t find anywhere else, since we have translated the whole thing for you. The following is what President Putin said, and we will analyze it afterwards.

“I may disappoint you but I do not share everyone’s enthusiasm about Greta Thunberg’s performances. You know, the fact that young people, teenagers, pay attention to controversial issues of today including the problem of ecology is correct and a really good thing, we should totally support them. But when someone makes use of children and teenagers in their own interests, that is definitely worth judging. Especially if someone is trying to make money on this. Now I’m not claiming that this is the case here but we should definitely keep a close eye on this.

“You see nobody explained to Greta that the modern world is a very complicated place that changes at a very fast pace, and many people in Africa or in Asian countries want to live at the same standards of living as say Sweden. But how do we do that? Force them to use the energy of the sun? Which Africa has plenty of. Has anyone explained to her what that costs? Just a moment ago a colleague was talking about oil, everyone I guess knows that oil happens to be the number one source in the energy mix and that it will retain its advantage, in its current form and value for the next 25 years. That is according to data of world experts, yes it will slowly go down, yes renewable energy will grow at a much faster pace, that’s all true and we should strive towards that, but while this technology is accessible for flourishing economies, its not readily available for developing countries. Nonetheless, people want to live there like they do in Sweden and there is no stopping them. Go and explain to them that they still have to live in poverty for another 20 or 30 years and that their kids will be forced to live in poverty, yes, go try to explain that to them.

“We should handle the situation as professionally and realistically as possible. Obviously the emotions (of people and teenagers like Greta) this might result in are unavoidable, but if we want to be effective, we need to handle it professionally. You know I’m sure Greta is a kind and sincere girl, but adults should do everything in their power to not stir up teenagers and kids in extremely controversial problems, we need to protect them from developing these unnecessary emotions that can be destructive to the personality of a developing mind, but in general we should of course support their good ideas connected to the development of clean energy, but these ideas must be rooted in reality and only push this process of change.

“Just recently in a speech I mentioned how we go about this is Russia. Not only did we sign and are wrapping up our implementation of the Paris climate accords, within our country, we are also taking steps aimed at reducing emissions and developing alternative sources of energy. We do this with tools like taxes, incentivizing the development of alternative energy. For example we are developing technologies that turn gas into hydrogen.

But once again, I will repeat that making use of kids to reach even well intentioned goals such as these in this emotionally tough way I think is wrong.”

The catch

Putin’s response was a huge mixed bag of everything. Something a transcript can’t really tell you, however, is how much Putin struggled not to use words like climate change, and you could almost literally see his struggle to go against years of conditioning not to acknowledge the issue at hand. Nonetheless, Putin’s answer was as enlightening about Russia’s plans as much as it was disturbing. I could go on to say how wrong he is about Greta and the entire movement, but you already know that, so I will leave that outrage to all your Twitter and Facebook posts and the discussions in the comments. What Putin did give away is the country’s strategy for the next 25 years, and it is not going to be anything good. Many are already claiming that Russia’s Paris climate accord goals and actions are wildly insufficient, but hey, it’s a start nonetheless.

First and foremost, Russia envisions coal, oil, and especially gas as the future of developing African and Asian countries, as well as China and Japan. As Putin said, Russia is working on turning fossil fuels into hydrogen fuels. When most people think of hydrogen fuel, they might think of electrolysis, which is an energy intensive process that creates hydrogen fuel without any emissions that can then be combusted to release only water as a byproduct rather than CO2. However, most hydrogen is currently made from fossil fuels, using a process called steam-methane reforming that effectively makes hydrogen but also creates CO2 as a byproduct. This is not an issue if that CO2 is immediately captured rather than released, and there might be methods to eliminate that byproduct altogether. To further corroborate these plans, one must only look at what oil and gas pipelines Russia is currently constructing or planning to construct as shown on the map above. They lead to China as well as Japan, along with lots of other developing Asian countries, and the remaining question is how or if it plans to get its fossil fuels to Africa like China is currently doing. Another issue that was totally not addressed is how many greenhouse gases get released by drilling and all the pipelines, and if that is a problem that can even be solved.

Using renewables such as solar and wind is already cheaper in many cases and the price will continue to fall, but the world is so big and the time left to solve the climate crisis is so small. It’s not impossible that Russia might get its way and find a market for this. Right now it’s unclear if it will be feasible for Russia to actually do this. Once again it is also a big question if Russia can make sure that none of the greenhouse gases leak into the air because that is what the world will demand. Considering politicians’ current appalling attitudes towards climate change, it is hard to predict what their stance will be on this “clean gas” turned into hydrogen, as only time will tell. One thing is for sure, I prefer true renewables and electric cars, and that is a movement that will be hard to stop as long as the sun keeps shining.

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About the Author

Chanan Bos Chanan grew up in a multicultural, multi-lingual environment that often gives him a unique perspective on a variety of topics. He is always in thought about big picture topics like AI, quantum physics, philosophy, Universal Basic Income, climate change, sci-fi concepts like the singularity, misinformation, and the list goes on. Currently, he is studying creative media & technology but already has diplomas in environmental sciences as well as business & management. His goal is to discourage linear thinking, bias, and confirmation bias whilst encouraging out-of-the-box thinking and helping people understand exponential progress. Chanan is very worried about his future and the future of humanity. That is why he has a tremendous admiration for Elon Musk and his companies, foremost because of their missions, philosophy, and intent to help humanity and its future. He sees Tesla as one of the few companies that can help us save ourselves from climate change.


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