Russian government sees harsh evidence of global warming

While the U.S. remains embroiled in a mind-boggling feud over whether climate change is real, Russia has warmed up to the scientific evidence. “Everyone is talking about climate change now,” President Dmitri A. Medvedev told the Russian Security Council this month. “Unfortunately, what is happening now in our central regions is evidence of this global climate change, because we have never in our history faced such weather conditions in the past.”

Russia’s leaders have usually played the role of obstructionists in global talks about climate change because they thought that combatting it would harm their economic growth (where have we heard that before?) and because they believed that they would benefit from a warming planet. The vast stretch of frozen-over Siberia, they believed, would turn into a pleasant region of moderate temperature, ripe for agriculture and development.
But this summer changed their minds. The costs of climate change have been horrendous. Russia has suffered a devastating drought, and they’re still struggling to put out wildfires. From McClatchy:

Russia’s heat wave, along with its disastrous fallout, finally may have persuaded the Kremlin to combat climate change.

Russian officials, who until now have resisted dramatic action out of fears it would dampen economic growth, lately have issued strong statements linking global warming to the emergency Russia is facing. Some hope the abrupt change of tune will result in more effective environmental policies, even after the smog dies down.

“There is no question that we need to get ahead of climate change,” said Vladimir Slivyak, a co-chair of Ecodefense, a grassroots Russian environmental group. “This is a wake-up call.”

The crisis, which seems to have taken the Kremlin by surprise, features a fierce and unremitting heat wave that’s now well into its second month, a drought that’s ruined as much as a third of the vitally important grain crop and a wave of seemingly uncontrollable wildfires that have blanketed half of European Russia, including the capital Moscow, in a cloud of smoke.

Russia’s state meteorological service said smog conditions in Moscow have eased from a Saturday peak, but the Ministry of Emergency Services warned that Moscow-region fires have tripled size in the past week, spreading from 65 to 210 hectares. Meanwhile, an average of 700 people are dying per day in Moscow, double the average rate, which health officials blamed on the smog.

“Our country has not experienced such a heat wave in the last 50 or even 100 years,” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said last week in a speech published in English on the Kremlin’s website. “We need to learn our lessons from what has happened, and from the unprecedented heat wave that we have faced this summer.

Russia isn’t the only place where the extremes caused by climate change are in evidence. Yesterday, The New York Times offered a round-up:

The summer’s heat waves baked the eastern United States, parts of Africa and eastern Asia, and above all Russia, which lost millions of acres of wheat and thousands of lives in a drought worse than any other in the historical record.

Seemingly disconnected, these far-flung disasters are reviving the question of whether global warming is causing more weather extremes.

The collective answer of the scientific community can be boiled down to a single word: probably.

“The climate is changing,” said Jay Lawrimore, chief of climate analysis at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. “Extreme events are occurring with greater frequency, and in many cases with greater intensity.”

He described excessive heat, in particular, as “consistent with our understanding of how the climate responds to increasing greenhouse gases.”

Theory suggests that a world warming up because of those gases will feature heavier rainstorms in summer, bigger snowstorms in winter, more intense droughts in at least some places and more record-breaking heat waves. Scientists and government reports say the statistical evidence shows that much of this is starting to happen.

Here in metropolitan D.C., in addition to a searing heat wave, we’ve enduring a summer of violent, freakish thunder storms that have downed trees, caused flooding and cost lives.

Do scientists have absolute proof the freakish weather has been caused by climate change? No. Does that theory best fit the facts? Yes.

520 comments Add your comment

leroy sampson

August 16th, 2010
10:09 pm

Muslims and Baptists are two peas in the same pod of crazy

margo

August 16th, 2010
10:16 pm

The terrorists won before the battle was joined, the extreme right has pissed on the constitution in defense of ignorance.

bojangles

August 16th, 2010
10:58 pm

Freedom tastes like chicken….

AmVet

August 16th, 2010
11:09 pm

bo, loved your dirty rice too.

I'm here from the government and I'm here to help

August 17th, 2010
4:54 am

Marvin the Martian
August 16th, 2010
6:24 pm

I’m here from the government,

No, sir. Your party screams “Constitution” in every sentence. If you’re going to slap it in everyone’s face, then walk the walk. If you don’t believe this center can go up, you don’t believe in the Constitution. You can’t have it both ways. Wisdom is honorable, xenophobia need not apply.
__________________________________________________________

For at least the 10th time!

Build it PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESE!

Any questions?

I'm here from the government and I'm here to help

August 17th, 2010
4:57 am

ronald
August 16th, 2010
8:41 pm

“Who’s not a racists? You? ROFLMAO”

That is correct, “I’m here from the Gov’t”. I am not a racist. Are there any other conservative posters on this site? Is it just Scout and the other conservatives are all clowns? I’ve only been posting here for a few months, but thats the conclusion I’m coming to.
____________________________________________________________

The use of the word “Clown” is racists. Wanna try your BS again?

I'm here from the government and I'm here to help

August 17th, 2010
5:14 am

TaxPayer
August 16th, 2010
8:57 pm

All these self-righteous folks on here claiming that they’re just doing what’s right by speaking out against that mean old Islam because of the way some folks use it to justify killing and such yet not a single one of these holier-than-thou types have even once mentioned the little facts about Rumsfeld and his biblical presentations to Bush or Bush and his mideast wars against gog and magog or the baptist preachers that were proclaiming Bush as being their chose one and Kerry being in league with the devil. Blah, blah, blah. Hypocrites.
__________________________________________________________________

If you really love old Islam, you have that right. If you lived in IRAN you do not have that right. Its’ not about the “rights”, its’ about the issue of sacred grounds, which is defined as follows;
secured against violation, infringement, etc., as by reverence or sense of right.

We, the majority of Americans are entitled to have these feeling.

I pray we “Never Forget 9/11″!

I Report :-) You Whine :-( mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

August 17th, 2010
5:57 am

Aahhh, the liberals rejoice, they have found themselves a threat to the hated United States of America-

BEIJING — China has eclipsed Japan as the world’s second-biggest economy after three decades of blistering growth that put overtaking the United States in reach within 10 years.

Japan is still far richer per person after confirming Monday that economic output fell behind its giant neighbor for the three months ending June 30.-Urinal

So basically, China’s economic output is derived from slave labor.

That always puts a gleam in the pinko’s eye, just sayin…

barking frog

August 17th, 2010
7:15 am

Real climate change is when the snowbirds
head south to Florida.

T-Town

August 17th, 2010
7:21 am

“Real climate change is when the snowbirds head south to Florida.”

Is this because we are a bunch of old farts? Oh well, see ya on the beach in November.

TaxPayer

August 17th, 2010
7:26 am

So basically, China’s economic output is derived from slave labor.

And the US consumes it like there’s no tomorrow because that is the stuff that major US corporations buy and ship here to the US instead of employing US citizens to make products. This calls for a tax break for the wealthy.

T-Town

August 17th, 2010
7:34 am

No TaxPayer, this crap is coming here because we the consumers are buying it. Coining an old phase: “if we don’t buy it, it won’t come!”

tyler

August 17th, 2010
7:48 am

Tell that to the very BLUE state of California that has experienced a record cold all summer long. So cold in fact it has destroyed most of their staple produce. Nice try CT.

TaxPayer

August 17th, 2010
7:52 am

No T-Town,

The crap is coming here because the major corporations bring it here and then we buy it. Give them all another tax cut to show your appreciation.

[...] Science MonitorTexas GOP Vote (blog) -The Post-Standard – Syracuse.com (blog) -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 205 news [...]

[...] Science MonitorTexas GOP Vote (blog) -The Post-Standard – Syracuse.com (blog) -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 205 news [...]

[...] Russian government sees harsh evidence of global warmingAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Seemingly disconnected, these far-flung disasters are reviving the question of whether global warming is causing more weather extremes. …Official: Russian disaster sign of global warmingLexington Herald Leaderall 621 news articles » [...]

ugg

August 31st, 2010
10:47 pm

but it’s definitely better tI am greatly pleasedchi flat irons at reading this post.

[...] Dmitri Medvedev, Russian president Russian leaders are famously skeptical of global warming, with then–President Vladimir Putin quipping in 2003 that a warmer Russia “wouldn’t [...]

[...] of the greatest crises of our time is climate change, which threatens to create food shortages (as the Russians learned this summer), change geography, eradicate entire eco-systems and even wipe out cities and towns in coastal [...]