Rogue States

I don’t think that global warming would actually be that great for Russia, but I can understand why others would. Warmer temperatures make much of the country much more habitable, open up the massive northern coast, and in the mean time you don’t have to worry about burning your immense fossil fuel resources. On the other hand, what do you do with half a billion climate refugees? Maybe they solve your depopulation problem. Of course, if Russia has more Chinese and Indian people than it does Russians, well, that could be an issue. And, you know, what if ocean currents shift unpredictably and Russia winds up being even colder, or winds shift and dry the country out entirely? What if temperatures increase so much that everyone dies? And so on.

And while Russia may drag its feet, I don’t think it will actively abstain from emission reduction measures. But what if it did? What if Russia decided to increase emissions and created incentives for various businesses to do so. What would the rest of the world do? What would conservatives do? As much as they seem to enjoy ignoring climate science, it would be hard for them to pass up the opportunity to call for bombing.

The issue looks a little different when you begin to think about it in terms of aggression.


  1. jack says:

    Perhaps in the long term, yes – and in the southern taiga & plains… but gradually-melting permafrost is perhaps the worst ground to “add” to your control that isn’t glacially or volcanically active. The fact that China managed to create a railway to Tibet through advancing and retreating frost lines is considered an engineering miracle, accomplished at tremendous cost.

    Ice roads & planes are the main way of connecting an industrial civilization across Arctic territory, and they only work well in the winter. Canada & Alaska may well have to shut down some of their oil infrastructure in the next decade because the winter freeze cycle isn’t long enough.

    Is a warmer Russia a net gain? Probably. But it’s by no means painless.