Know-nothing Russians wallow in Ignorance

Boris Kagarlitsky, writing in the Moscow Times:

Since so many predictions about the future are negative, few people want to wait around to see whether they come true. Perhaps that is why the Russian authorities and society prefer to ignore information about impending problems. When the world began speaking about global warming, no countries in Europe treated the topic as lightly as we did. Russia believed that it was all much ado about nothing, a fabricated crisis invented by the West or leftist environmentalists.

Moscow’s responses were: 1. There is no climate crisis; 2. Humanity and the existing economic system are not responsible for it; 3. The crisis in no way affects Russia; and 4. Even if it does exist, it can only be to Russia’s benefit.

Not only did Russia make no attempt to help solve the global environmental crisis, it did everything to exacerbate the problem on its own territory.

When the European part of Russia was engulfed by wildfires, the media, in their search for someone to blame, pointed the finger at the authorities. But society carries no less responsibility for the crisis. As the old saying goes, the people get the type of government they deserve.

When the new Forest Code was adopted in 2007, only a few environmentalists protested. The public was completely indifferent to what was happening. As with the question of global warming, nobody was interested in the future of Russia’s forests. Many of those who are now upset with the authorities did not say anything when the Forest Code was being prepared.

The real purpose of the code was to give the people exploiting the forests complete freedom over the resources transferred to them. Toward that end, the system of state controls had to be dismantled. That task was accomplished. The authors of the code sincerely believed that with the transference of the forests into private hands, they would finally have a “responsible caretaker” for Russia’s huge forestland. With this, the privatization of the country’s forests began. But the unattended trees began burning even before the privatization was completed.

“Who could have foreseen the unprecedented heat of summer 2010, the worst in more than 100 years?” officials asked. They view the heat wave as a rare exception and still do not believe that the issue is much deeper and more disturbing — the global climate is changing. This fundamental lack of understanding of the dangers — or even existence — of global warming explains why they saw no need to prepare for problems associated with higher temperatures.

Meanwhile, natural, social and economic crises are accelerating — both within Russia and globally. The situation is much worse than the strongest pessimists and critics of the Forest Code had predicted in 2006 and 2007. They expected disaster to strike in five or 10 years, but it only took three years after the code was passed to realize that the situation is already out of control.

It will be impossible to re-establish control without a change in policy. Restoring the forests, flooding the dried-out peat bogs and reviving the economies of the towns and villages that were destroyed by the fires is a task that can only be addressed at the federal level. But to cope with that daunting challenge, both the state and society must be willing to change.

24 responses to “Know-nothing Russians wallow in Ignorance

  1. Wednesday, Nov. 04, 2009

    Russia doesn’t seem to care two bits about global warming, and it’s not hard to see why. Most Russians would probably be happy if the country was a little warmer.,28804,1929071_1929070_1934785,00.html#ixzz0x9ltFdKK

  2. Now, we have something we can agree on. At least the Russians have not been tricked into the Global Warming hoax. At least on this one issue, if we can all agree and move forward towards global prosperity instead of coerced austerity.

    The peatbog fires where a man made legacy of the Soviet era. Not a result of global warming.

  3. I do not see what privatization has to do with super dry forests starting to burn????

  4. We are supposed to be talking about organized fire fighting with back burning and all the other devices used to control the flames. A ficticious “global environmental crisis” has nothing to do with volunteer firemen rushing to the flames.

    Because of a draining pattern of corruption there are no resources left to organize infrastructure. Even the dimbulb Russian people should be able to figure this out. I think they will figure it out.

    In fact I think this natural disaster will have far reaching consequences. I think Russia’s hundreds of years history of beating up on their neighbors is at an end.

    landscape picture of russia, taken from estonian border. river is the border!

  6. Since we are discussing global warming a few comments.

    Hillary just talked about global warming and ended her chances of being President.

    Obama the poisonous, toxic, radioactive disaster for the democrats is changing the environment at light speed. He visited Seattle and Patty (moron tennis shoes) Murray’s numbers dropped 7 points.

    Sarah will not do well because Americans are afraid of the abortion issue which might be just below the radar. Americans want no possible issue on the radar except the deficit.

    Americans have nightmares about the trillion dollar deficit. Americans are thinking of nothing at all except for the deficit. They think about it all day every day. They worry about it at night when they go to the bathroom. They absolutely think about nothing else.

    Anyone who even breathes favorably about any lefty issue is finished.

    • If USians worry so much abt budget deficit, they should probably think about cutting the wages of government workers – I mean, fedgov workers, and not just closing schools. Plus, cutting the army expenses, that is the largest black hole in the budget of USia.

  7. Aah, Ron.

    So this is where you’re hanging now. Hope you didn’t miss this on RWD….

  8. BTW, just because there are very sound organisational/man-made reasons for Russia to burn this summer, that doesn’t mean that climatic change might not have been contributory, or isn’t happening.

  9. “People who claim that climate science is a conspiracy or the work of charlatans are talking rubbish”, says the Guardian.

    Climate change does happen. For instance in the year 1,000 they were farming in Greenland. As for the Guardian, I class that rag with my Mother who insisted that God created the universe in 4008 BC.

    For the probable real source of climate change check the date August 6, 2010 against the date June 9, 2010.

  10. Also, to get back on subject, political views change and it is always a surprise. Is Russia ready??? Maybe so.

  11. “Sarah will not do well because…” LOL! Because even an idiot can see that Sarah is more an idiot than even the stupidest idiot is, and therefore is off-ballot for only that simple reason alone.

  12. The left is deperately afraid of Sarah. She goes from strength to strength whereas the left is sinking like a stone.

  13. Laszlo Tooth Jr.

    Russians are naive America-loving idiots, who can’t believe that we, Americans, in our infinite greed and waste, could have screwed up the atmosphere so baldly.

    America is NUMBER ONE when it comes to destroying our planet!

    • Did you notice the atmosphere in moscow lately, and that russia is burning like hell because the uncivilized pagan barbarians in the kremlin created hell on earth for 100,000,000’s of people {PRONOUNCED God’s children} – for centuries!

    • Hello ReTaRd.

      Unfortunately Russia was and is the greatest destroyer of it’s own environment, and still is.

      Russia’s legacy of death – environmental destruction

      DURING NEARLY TWO YEARS as a journalist in Russia, I craved, more than anything, fresh, clean air–that and water that I could drink straight from the tap. And more than anything among the manifold blessings of life in America, it is these that I savor now that I am home.

      Certainly I had had other complaints in Moscow. A little sunlight in that perpetually bleak and cloud-covered city would have been nice. And I missed good vegetables, such as tomatoes that I didn’t suspect could power a small nuclear reactor. But most of all, I longed for clean air and water.


      Nothing better illustrates the extent of that devastation than the River Tom, which rises in the snowy peaks that separate Russia from Mongolia and runs for 827 kilometers (500 miles) through the Kuzbass before flowing into the Ob, one of Siberia’s trio of great rivers. The Kuzbass covers just 4 percent of Siberia’s territory but is home to 22 percent of Siberia’s people, drawn there by industrial work. Nine out of ten of them live in a narrow north- south strip along the Tom, which is lined with some of Russia’s grimiest factories. As it flows through Kemerovo, the river serves both as the city’s only source of drinking water and as its sole sewer.

      The Tom collects sewage and industrial waste for most of its length. In winter, hot clouds billow above the edges of the icy river–hints of the 4.8 million tons of poisons that industry dumps into the Tom each year. Carcinogenic benzene and petroleum products in the Tom average two to three times the government’s legal level, according to a recent study, and during the spring thaw exceed it 15-fold. Formaldehyde measures 34 times the permissible load.

      According to Yuri Kaznin, who heads the Department of Public Health of the Kemerovo Medical Institute, the river contains as much as 48 times the legal level of bacteria, 40 times the arsenic and as much as 8.5 times the phenol, a poison derived from coal tar. Groundwater is even worse, he says. It contains 150 times the acceptable level of these toxic contaminants.

      A journey up a tributary of the Tom leads to Leninsk-Kuznetski, home to 160,000 people. From the center of town, an hour and a half to the south of Kemerovo, smokestacks tower in every direction, and the streets are covered with coal dust and ash. Like most of the factories here, the largest of the city’s nine mines are downtown. Residents take their drinking water in pails from the Inya, the local river. Because it contains more chemical waste than water, it flows even when winter temperatures drop far below freezing.

      A few hours further up the Tom, in Novokuznetsk, the air grows even worse. During the spring thaw, the city’s mammoth metalworks mock environmental laws, releasing into the sky three or four times the maximum legal level of heavy metals. In winter and summer, the climate conspires to trap poisonous air above the city for weeks at a time. A report by the regional Health and Epidemiology Survey indicates that sulfur levels near an agglomeration plant run as high as 312 times the acceptable level. Near a 5.4 million-square-foot pharmaceutical plant, fluoride is 300 times the norm.

      Two-thirds of the city’s air pollution comes not from its monster factories but from the low stacks of its centralized, and massively inefficient, coal- burning utility plants. According to municipal authorities in Novokuznetsk, the city’s air averages 10 times the legal level of benzopyrene, a carcinogen found in coal. One industrial district is burdened with 48 times the legal level. On bad days, the authorities say, nitrous oxide runs 15 times the norm, ammonium 10 times and soot 7 times. Studies around the world have implicated these pollutants in a variety of human ailments, some fatal, ranging from asthma and sore throats to cancer. By winter’s end, according to a local chemist, snow on the city’s streets contains 200 times the level of pollutants that the law allows.

      Residents add more than 800,000 tons of solid trash and waste yearly to a dump at the center of town, near the river bank, polluting the groundwater and carrying 1 million cubic meters (225 million gallons) of contaminated runoff into the Tom daily–more, authorities admit, than the purification system can handle. Industries illegally dump thousands of tons of toxic waste throughout the city each year.

      Though its extremes may stand out, the Kuzbass is not unique among the many tragedies that choke the 21 million square kilometers (8 million sq.mi.) of the former Soviet Union. For example, scientists who helped develop nuclear power plants and atomic test sites acknowledge that the nuclear industry pumped billions of gallons of deadly waste into the earth–including, near three of Russia’s most important rivers, an amount equal to 60 times the radiation released during the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear-power-plant accident. According to a 1994 World Bank report “virtually all” of the country’s radioactive-waste storage sites fail to meet modern standards.

      Due north of the Kuzbass, near the Arctic Circle, acid rain from the smelting of nickel, copper and platinum has deforested 880,000 acres, according to Russian newspaper Izvestiya. Solid-waste processing facilities can handle barely more than a quarter of the 7 billion tons produced annually. According to a 1994 report by the Security Council of President Boris Yeltsin, three-quarters of Russia’s water is unpotable. Other studies place the figure still higher.

      According to Russia’s Environment and Natural Resources Ministry, the country’s 1.2 million miles of oil and gas pipelines experience about 1,000 spills yearly. As much as 1.5 trillion cubic feet of the gas that rises with extracted petroleum is simply burned up. ITAR-TASS, the official news agency, reported recently that in the Komi Republic alone, where a horrific 1994 oil spill dumped as much as 300 million gallons onto the tundra and into rivers, about 40 more leaks have occurred.


      The environmental scourge at the root of such problems shows no signs of abating. On the contrary, according to a report released by the Environment Ministry in June, air pollution in the 60 to 70 largest Russian cities, where between 40 million and 50 million people live, rises several times a year to at least 10 times higher than the legal limit. As many as 60 million other people live in places where pollution yearly exceeds health standards by at least five times.


  14. Also I like smokestacks. They smell like paychecks.

  15. Has anyone gone in and examined carefully these “Environmental disasters”? When you are dealing with liars every detail of their claims needs to be examined.

    The Gulf oil leak has turned out to be nothing at all. Bugs are eating that oil as fast as it pours out. You go to the Valdez oil spill in Alaska and you cannot even find it.

    Dixie Lee Ray wrote a book and said oil spills are messy, but no permanent harm results. My dad claimed we had killed ground forever on our farm because that is where we drained oil out of our machinery. It was so bad that if you threw a cigarette into it it would flare up. Years later I went back to the old farm and the vegetation was highest and thickest in that area that my dad said “was dead forever”.

    Lefties are hit and run liars. Grab them by the scruff of the neck, drag them to the site and make them prove their claims.

    • Laszlo Tooth Jr.

      Rone wrote: “Has anyone gone in and examined carefully these “Environmental disasters”? When you are dealing with liars every detail of their claims needs to be examined.

      Absolutely true. That’s why when the university scientists evaluated the amount of oil that BP was spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, they showed that this amount is 10 times higher than what BP and the US government had been telling the American public.

  16. Laszlo Tooth Jr.

    Thanks to our abuse of the environment, we, Americans, are among the wealthiest countries in the World! Read and weep, Russia:

    The USA Versus the Environment
    Oil, Pollution and Kyoto

    The USA drew worldwide criticism for failing to adopt the greatest international agreement for the reduction of some greenhouse gases, The Kyoto Protocol, which has been accepted by nearly every other country. This is despite the fact that the USA is by a massive margin the world’s biggest polluter and very disproportionately so. President Bush has repeatedly stated that he will not adopt such protocols if they harm American economy. Commercialism and greed overcome all common sense and thought for the welfare of future generations. This failure causes hatred not only of the Bush administration, but of American commercialism in general.

    1. The USA is the World’s Biggest Polluter

    The world’s largest polluter, the USA, has recently not backed pollution treaties to reduce car emissions or petrol consumption. The US alone accounted for 36.1% of worldwide greenhouse emissions in 19901.

    “The US contains 4% of the world’s population but produces about 25% of all carbon dioxide emissions. By comparison, Britain emits 3% – about the same as India which has 15 times as many people.”

    2.3. All Industrial Nations Except the USA Accept It

    73 countries have become signatories to this pact1. Nearly all countries have ratified the pact including Japan and all 15 European Union states. In 2001 the United States provoked widespread international criticism by rejecting the Kyoto protocol2 as soon as President Bush was inaugurated.
    3. President Bush: Why Doesn’t the USA Support Environmentalism?

    The US refused to sign the treaty, arguing that its economic interests would be threatened6. The US also opposed the Bonn refinement of Kyoto because of the cost to US business of Kyoto’s prescriptions on the reduction of environmentally harmful emissions which contribute to climate change.

    “Under the Protocol, the U.S. is supposed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by seven percent. With four percent of the world’s population, the country accounts for about 25 percent of the Earth’s greenhouse gas emissions.

    European Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström says ‘But this ignorant, short sighted and selfish politician, long since firmly jammed into the pockets of the oil lobby, clearly couldn’t care less. The talks in Bonn in July must now concentrate on world action independent of the U.S.’

    President Bush on the Kyoto Protocol said that “this is the American position because it’s right for America” and, just to make the point clear, he added: “We will not do anything that harms our economy, because first things first are the people who live in America.” / Why do people hate America? by Sarder & Davies (2002)/

    4. Pollution and Cars

    The USA has the biggest cars and the biggest roads relative to all other countries. This is an incomprehensible phenomenon to the rest of the world, where car mass and petrol consumption are immediately equated with pollution and irresponsibility.

    9. Conclusion: Not a People’s Government

    A democratic government’s function is to protect people, its citizens, and the citizens of the world. In capitalist countries it is the Government’s job to keep commercialism in check and protect people from the inequality, oppression and money-orientated practices of big business.

    Some people have been forced to wonder if the American government can still be considered to be working for interests of people anywhere in the world, or if it is indeed simply the world’s largest corporation.
    List of countries by 2007 emissions
    1 China 6,538,367.00 22.30%
    2 United States 5,838,381.00 19.91%
    3 India 1,612,362.00 5.50%
    4 Russia 1,537,357.00 5.24%
    5 Japan 1,254,543.00 4.28%
    6 Germany 787,936.00 2.69%
    7 Canada 557,340.00 1.90%
    Carbon dioxide emissions [tonnes] per capita

    1. Qatar 56.2
    2 United Arab Emirates 32.8
    3 Kuwait 31.2
    4 Bahrain 28.8
    6 Luxembourg 22.4
    9 United States 19.1
    10 Canada 17.4
    11 Australia 18.8
    14 Saudi Arabia 15.8
    18 Estonia 13.1

    33 Russia 11.2
    34 South Korea 10.1

    • @The USA drew worldwide criticism for failing to adopt the greatest international agreement for the reduction of some greenhouse gases, The Kyoto Protocol, which has been accepted by nearly every other country.

      Ah. So let’s see about this certain other country! Shall we?,28804,1929071_1929070_1934785,00.html

      To say that Russia is hesitant about tackling climate change is putting it mildly. The last time the world tried to get the country’s cooperation on the issue was in 1997, during negotiations for the Kyoto Protocol (the international treaty on limiting greenhouse-gas emissions). Because Russia is the world’s third largest source of emissions after the U.S. and China, the accord would have failed without it. So the treaty was written in a way that would allow Russia to keep polluting as much as it wanted and grant the country billions of dollars in emissions allowances to sell to other countries that needed to meet their Kyoto commitments.

      As a U.N. official who participated in the talks put it, “Russia got the sweetest deal: free money, no restrictions.” But apparently even that wasn’t enough. It took another seven years of painstaking negotiations — and promises from the West to help Russia join the World Trade Organization (WTO) — to get the country to ratify the deal.

      How the world will persuade Russia to take an active part in the upcoming climate-change summit in Copenhagen on Dec. 2 remains to be seen. Scientists say this is the last real chance that global leaders have to deal with global warming before its effects become irreversible, and this time around there are few obvious carrots with which to bait the Kremlin. (Russia has since abandoned plans to join the WTO.) And Russia has already indicated that it is not putting a high priority on the talks. In June, President Dmitri Medvedev announced the country’s emissions targets, which would effectively see Russia spew 30% more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by 2020 than it does today. “We will not cut our development potential,” Medvedev said at the time.

  17. LTR hmm that has a familiar ring.

    Of course we did not sign the kyoto “agreement” which was the left trying to take over. Ninty five percent of environmental positions is blatent B. S. Five percent is logical. For instance, do not dump stuff in a river, ect.

    However, something has now happened that is going to sink the environmentalists forever. It is “trillion”. Roll that one around your mouth. Republicans are losing their seats to conservatives because normal people cannot stand the word “trillion”. “Trillion “is not going away now or ever.

  18. Pingback: birdbrain » Blog Archive » Russians Don’t Believe In Global Warming. So What?

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