Listen closely when I say that the following short article is intended to be provocative. However insofar it isn’t intended provocative – and the idea behind the article is not taken seriously – I’d seriously suggest to Russia to take this idea seriously and do it. For starters have a look at the following videopresentation by Jamais Cascio
Russia has massive untapped and economically unrecoverable low quality coal reserves in Siberia. Also, Russia has massive untapped frozen agricultural lands, currently covered by permafrost. As you heard in the presentation of Jamais he said loud and clearly a country such as Denmark could effectively engage in ‘geo-engineering’. So in effect, it would be easy for Russia. But, what would be in it for Mother Russia?
Heat, Food, Land
Imagine Russia started lighting up coal reserves in Siberia, one after another. Throw a few truckloads of flammables into various subsurface low grade coal deposits and put them on fire. Make them burn, underground, for decades if need be, all the while churning of massive amounts of CO2. Sort of like this:
The nett effect would be global warming, and well, that is good news for Russia right? If the earth warms up, half russia has no winters anymore, and becomes arable land. Surreal amounts of permafrost thaw and all that organic material in the soil will also yield CO2. I can easily see the strategic choices of the Russian nation lead to a very profitable situation – for Russia. And while other countries would suffer severely, this would be good for Russia right? I mean, if things are good for you and bad for your strategic competitors then it’s sound international politics right? It would be just plain ‘too bad, don’t whine’ for anyone else. Russia has it’s strategic interests – food, land, independence – and the rest of the world must decide on its own what it does with the new situation. I mean, who can threaten Russia when it decides to walk this road – it still has a sizable nuclear arsenal, and a ruthless willingness to sacrifice its own population for the greater good.
The yield of a continent in terms of CO2 exhausts would be able to push global temperatures up by several degrees. This would melt ice and push up sea levels. Now guess what, last time I checked this would open up Russian shores to sea trade and traffic. That’s another bonus! I can’t see where Russia, a known stubborn, realpolitiker nation isn’t already contemplating this. They might push the button very soon – in a year from now – and we might start seeing the results within less than a decade.
But look at the benefits! The rise in global temperatures would be incidental. The US and western world industrial enterprise of the last century has already done so, and nobody asked them for this. Now finally a nation stands to really benefit from this, why should it suddenly pay any interest to “frivolous petty details” like “global warming treaties” or “international dialogue” ? What’s in it for Russia? Hell – global warming would in effect sterilize half the middle east. A five degree rise in average global temperatures would turn most of Russia a lot more habitable, while it would probably kill off half the troublesome competitors of Russia in the south. And maybe in the west and east too – Both The EU and China would suffer immensely from a several degrees sharp temperature increase, while Russia would do so unimpeded and effectively unchallenged. China is already largely desertifying, and has its own widespread coalfire problems it does jack shit about. So if Russia lit up a few up its own coal fires China wouldn’t have anything to complain right?
So I say – do it. Light it up. Turn the northern Siberian shore into the arctic paradise. Hell I would love buying some prime real estate along the Kara Rivera !