Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Official Russian Media Reports on Global Warming in Russia

Russian global warming and permafrost expert from Tomsk, Siberia, Dr. Sergei Kirpotin

Watch the Russian scientist Dr. Sergei Kirpotin (Сергей Кирпотин), of the Tomsk State University in Tomsk, Russia, discuss and demonstrate the release of methane from Russia's permafrost in this Russian media report from (8-22-09). Kirpotin is wearing an orange jacket in this video. Kirpotin also describes his research in this Russian Greenpeace video with English subtitles. For further details about these two videos see "A Mermaid Hovers Over Russia" (1-17-10).

Russia is enduring a terrible heat wave and drought. Many people are even drowning in ponds and rivers as they seek relief from the unaccustomed heat. Last week, the official Russian news agency RIA Novosti (7-16-10) reported:

Average global temperatures from January-June 2010 have been the warmest since records began in 1880, a report issued on the U.S. Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website said on Friday. [NOAA: June, April to June, and Year-to-Date Global Temperatures are Warmest on Record (7-15-10)]

The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for June 2010 was the warmest on record at 16.2 degrees Celsius (61.2 degrees Farenheit), which is 0.68 Celsius degrees above the 20th century average of 15.5 degrees Celsius (59.9 degrees Farenheit).

"Warmer-than-average conditions dominated the globe, with the most prominent warmth in Peru, the central and eastern contiguous U.S., and eastern and western Asia," the report said.

The report also said that the area covered by Arctic Sea ice has reduced by 10.6% against the 1979-2000 average level.

Russian meteorologists say the 2010 summer is one of the three hottest on record. Forecasters predicted record temperatures of 36 degrees Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit) in Moscow for Friday.

This week, RIA Novosti (7-21-10) is reporting that spokesmen for Russian Greenpeace [see Russian language site] and the Russian World Wildlife Fund (WWF) [see Russian language site] say that the terrible heat in Russia is being caused by global warming.

Scientists generally caution audiences that a specific weather event can't be attributed to global warming; rather, we must look at long-term trends. Still, climate scientists say that the earth is getting warmer due to global warming.

Although words are not actions, it is interesting that RIA Novosti is discussing the problem of global warming and that they are citing what seem to be interviews with spokesmen for Russian Greenpeace and the Russian WWF.

Last fall, before the Copenhagen Summit on greenhouse gasses, the Kremlin's Russia Today T.V. channel was promoting the views of Western global warming denialists such as the ridiculous Lord Monckton. Unfortunately, comic relief isn't going to mitigate global warming.

Russia has authoritiative sources on global warming; government-funded Russia Today shouldn't be providing credibility to a pseudoscientific charlatan like Lord Monckton who has been debunked twice by the American scientist John Abraham. Russia Today should be interviewing actual scientists such as Dr. Sergei Kirpotin. They shouldn't be ignoring their own Russian scientists or genuine Western experts.

After Chernobyl, Soviet T.V. put some magician who told people to put their water in front of the T.V. so he could send out rays and remove the radiation. Likewise, putting a character like Lord Monckton on state-funded T.V., unless it is part of a comedy routine, is no different and really misleads people. Perhaps that was the intent; but it didn't work, and Russia Today T.V. really discredited themselves and the Kremlin by promoting scientifically uncontested psudoscience at public expense. Obviously, RIA Novosti was correct to note that pseudoscience, or "Rasputin-style infiltration into the upper echelons of power remains a problem even in post-Soviet Russia."

Global warming is becoming a very serious problem for Russia and the whole world, and it would be nice if the best and brightest Russian scientists could help craft some solutions.

It is hard to tell if the recent RIA Novosti articles about global warming represent a change in the Kremlin's policies since Russia Today's promotion of global warming pseudoscience last November-December, but these more frank English-language articles are not just tailored for Western consumption because some of them also appear in Russian.

Today RIA Novosti (7-21-10) [see Russian version] reports:

A blistering heat wave in Russia has been caused by man-made global warming, WWF Russia and Greenpeace Russia said on Wednesday.

For the past four weeks temperatures across western Russia have topped 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), killing scores of people and creating what is thought to be the worst drought since 1972.

Many farmers are on the brink of bankruptcy, while a state of emergency has been declared in 17 Russian regions. Nearly 10 million hectares of crops have been destroyed by drought.

"Such long periods of summer drought have been registered before, for instance, in 1936, but over the past few years they have become more frequent," Alexei Kokorin, the head of WWF Russia's climate program, told RIA Novosti.

"This is a reaction of the climate system to man-made changes in atmospheric chemistry," he said.

Vladimir Chuprov, the head of Greenpeace Russia's energy department, said "the Russian government will have to take action one way or another to combat the consequences of climate change."

With a request of 40 billion rubles ($1.3 billion) in aid for stricken regions from the Russian Grain Union and an inevitable rise in food prices, the government has a tough job to do.

In March, in the wake of the much-criticized 2009 Copenhagen Summit, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called for tougher environmental restrictions, ordering the government to act on the national climate doctrine approved during last year's summit.


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