“I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organisations – environmental organisations working against shale gas – to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas.” — NATO’s then Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, The Guardian, June 19, 2014.
The mechanism, which can be summarized as follows: “Funds from the Russian government -> Shell company ‘incorporated’ in Bermuda -> American foundation -> American environmental organizations.” The advantage of Bermuda is that it does not require any disclosure that funds come from a foreign government, contrary to American law. Sea Change must disclose that it has received funds from abroad — in this instance a Bermuda company. Nothing more.
On March 11, 2022, US Representatives Jim Banks and Bill Johnson sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, asking for an investigation into the reported Russian manipulation of American “green groups” that are seemingly funded with “dark money” (anonymous donations). “Russia spent millions promoting anti-energy policies and politicians in the U.S. … Unlike the Russia hoax, Putin’s malign influence on our energy sector is real and deserves further investigation,” Banks said to Fox News Digital.
Below Europe’s soil lie large reserves of shale gas, also known as bedrock gas. The exploitation of these European natural gas reserves would have substantially reduced Europe’s purchases of, and dependence on, Russia’s gas — in particular on its gas giant, Gazprom. The same is true of nuclear power, which offers Westerners an abundant, non-CO2-emitting energy source as an alternative to Russian gas.
Hence the interest, for the Russian government, in mounting a vast disinformation campaign against shale gas and nuclear power in the West, by massively financing the groups most likely “naturally” to oppose it: environmentalist organizations.
How has Vladimir Putin—a man ruling a country with an economy smaller than that of Texas, with an average life expectancy 10 years lower than that of France—managed to launch an unprovoked full-scale assault on Ukraine?
There is a deep psychological, political and almost civilizational answer to that question: He wants Ukraine to be part of Russia more than the West wants it to be free. He is willing to risk tremendous loss of life and treasure to get it. There are serious limits to how much the U.S. and Europe are willing to do militarily. And Putin knows it.
Missing from that explanation, though, is a story about material reality and basic economics—two things that Putin seems to understand far better than his counterparts in the free world and especially in Europe.
Putin knows that Europe produces 3.6 million barrels of oil a day but uses 15 million barrels of oil a day. Putin knows that Europe produces 230 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year but uses 560 billion cubic meters. He knows that Europe uses 950 million tons of coal a year but produces half that.
The former KGB agent knows Russia produces 11 million barrels of oil per day but only uses 3.4 million. He knows Russia now produces over 700 billion cubic meters of gas a year but only uses around 400 billion. Russia mines 800 million tons of coal each year but uses 300.
That’s how Russia ends up supplying about 20 percent of Europe’s oil, 40 percent of its gas, and 20 percent of its coal.
The math is simple. A child could do it.
The reason Europe didn’t have a muscular deterrent threat to prevent Russian aggression—and in fact prevented the U.S. from getting allies to do more—is that it needs Putin’s oil and gas.
by P. Homewood, Nov 8, 2021 in NotaLotofPeople KnowThat
The gap between rhetoric and fact is a perennial feature of politics. But seldom can the chasm between claim and reality have been as wide as that displayed by Alok Sharma at the Cop26 conference in Glasgow. The British president of the latest intergovernmental climate change gathering told the delegates (and the world’s media) that “the end of coal is in sight”, as a result of the agreement he had negotiated.
That was the rhetoric. Now the fact. Not only was the declaration to phase out coal by the 2040s not signed by the world’s top three consumers (China, India and America, which account for more than 70 per cent of the global CO2 emissions from burning the stuff); the pledge itself was neutered by the addition of the get-out “or as soon as possible thereafter”.
by P. Homewood, June 27, 2020 in NotaLotofPeoppleKnowThat
The Conversation has now got involved in the Arctic heatwave scare, with this article by Jonathan Bamber, Professor of Physical Geography, University of Bristol :
On the eve of the summer solstice, something very worrying happened in the Arctic Circle. For the first time in recorded history, temperatures reached 38°C (101°F) in a remote Siberian town – 18°C warmer than the maximum daily average for June in this part of the world, and the all-time temperature record for the region.
New records are being set every year, and not just for maximum temperatures, but for melting ice and wildfires too. That’s because air temperatures across the Arctic have been increasing at a rate that is about twice the global average.
All that heat has consequences. Siberia’s recent heatwave, and high summer temperatures in previous years, have been accelerating the melting of Arctic permafrost. This is the permanently frozen ground which has a thin surface layer that melts and refreezes each year. As temperatures rise, the surface layer gets deeper and structures embedded in it start to fail as the ground beneath them expands and contracts. This is what is partly to blame for the catastrophic oil spill that occurred in Siberia in June 2020, when a fuel reservoir collapsed and released more than 21,000 tonnes of fuel – the largest ever spill in the Arctic.
So what is wrong with the Arctic, and why does climate change here seem so much more severe compared to the rest of the world?
In fact, I’d argue that it is the single most powerful word in any language.
In the midst of the worst market meltdown in a dozen years which has at its source problems within global dollar-funding markets, Russia found itself in the position to exercise the Power of No.
Multiple overlapping crises are happening worldwide right now and they all interlock into a fabric of chaos.
Between political instability in Europe, presidential primary shenanigans in the U.S., coronavirus creating mass hysteria and Turkey’s military adventurism in Syria, the eastern Mediterranean and Libya, markets are finally calling the bluff of central bankers who have been propping up asset prices for years.
But, at its core, the current crisis stems from the simple truth that those prices around the world are vastly overvalued.
Western government and central bank policies have used the power of the dollar to push the world to this state.
And that state is, at best, meta-stable.
But when this number of shits get this freaking real, well… meeting the fan was inevitable.
And all it took to push a correction into a full-scale panic was the Russians saying, “No.”
The reality has been evident in the commodity markets for months. Copper and other industrial metals have all been in slumps while equity markets zoomed higher.
But it was oil that was the most confounding of all.
Most of 2019 we saw oil prices behaving oddly as events occurred with regularity to push prices higher but ultimately see them fall.
Since peaking after the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani oil prices have been a one-way trade. Down.
Bloomberg) — Russia has ditched plans to set greenhouse-gas emissions targets for companies as a sign of its commitment to fighting climate change, following lobbying from big businesses that risked fines if they didn’t comply.
The measure was part of a bill intended to accompany Russia’s ratification of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change in September. Instead, the world’s fourth-largest carbon polluter scrapped the proposal after the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) warned it would raise costs for companies and delay investment.
“After consultations with the government, it was decided to abandon the specific regulatory requirements,” the press department of the Economy Ministry, which is drafting the bill, said by email. “The government will have the right to decide after Jan. 1, 2024 what measures to introduce if Russia is forecast to miss its emissions targets.”
Eastern Europe has been experiencing a miserable summer so far, with temperatures holding well-below average for the majority of the season. And now, following a cold and wet June and July (in which many new daily low temperature records were set), Moscow is currently on course for it’s coldest August in recorded history.
The first week of August in Moscow was pretty chilly, with an average air temperature of just 13C (55.4F) — some 5C below the norm.
The city’s coldest August on record was way back in 1884, when the average daily air temperature for the month was some 4C below the norm. In fact, that August turned out to be colder than the May.
According to www.hmn.ru, the beginning of August in Moscow has been characterized by unusual weather in terms of not only the cold, but also of abundant rainfall and a lack of sunshine.
After the first 7 days, precipitation is already at average levels for the entire month, while the chronic lack of sunshine is within touching distance of Aug 2001’s record-low 181 hours (avg. sun hours for the month of August are 238 hours).
The cold times are returning, clouds are nucleating, all in line with historically low solar activity:
We’re talking about record-breaking cold across an area almost half as big as the entire contiguous United States.
2 Aug 2019 – In a number of points in the north-east of the territory, the temperature dropped to record lows. In the capital of the Komi Republic, in Syktyvkar, it dropped to 2.7 degrees, which is 0.3 degrees lower than the previous record held since 1944.
Not only in the northern areas, the temperature also dropped to critical levels. In Voronezh the thermometers showed +7 degrees, leaving behind the previous record of +7.1 degrees in 1971.
Further south, in Saratov, the minimum temperature on the first day of August was 9.6, beating the previous record of 10.4 degrees set in 1948.
The cold also hit Azov. In Tsimlyansk, Rostov Region, on August 1 the temperature fell to 13.3 degrees. The previous record, 13.6, was noted in 1975.
On the first day of August, the average temperature across almost the entire territory of European Russia was 4-6 degrees below normal, and in the Volga region it did not reach the average long-term values of 8 degrees.
Cold weather throughout the territory from the White to the Black Sea will continue for at least another week.
European Russia covers nearly 4,000,000 km2 (1,500,000 sq mi).
Together, the 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C. occupy a combined area of 8,080,464.3 km2 (3,119,884.69 sq miles).
Arctic air has plunged into ALL of transcontinental Russia this week, from east to west, north to south. In fact, average temperatures have been holding at least 8C below normal for vast swathes of the 17,125,200 km2 nation ALL MONTH.
And, over the past few days, a large number of new all-time record-low temperatures were set in the Magadan region, located to the east of the country, in northeast Yakutia (Sakha Republic).
On the back of Russia’s horde of new record low temperatures set on July 12, a bucket-load more were set over the following few days, busting records that had previously stood for well over 100 years.
The mercury across the majority of Europe has remained well-below average during the month of July as a string of Arctic blasts continue to delay the start of the continent’s summer. Large regions are seeing temperature departures of up to 20C below average, sending all-time cold records tumbling.
And now Russia has 7 more daily records to add to the ever-expanding list (data courtesy of www.hmn.ru):
Sortavala recorded 3.8C (38.8F) — busting the previous record of 4.2C (39.6F) set in 1971.
Vytegra’s 0C (32F) beat the previous record of 1.5C (34.7F) from way back in 1893.
Vyborg observed 6.7C (44F) surpassing the 7C (44.6F) set in 1978 (solar minimum of cycle 20).
Roslavl’s 7C (44.6F) beat out the 7.9C (46.2F) from 1935 (solar minimum of cycle 15).
Cherepovets‘ 4.1C (39.4F) busted the 4.8C (40.6F) set in 1995 (solar minimum of cycle 22)
Rybinsk registered 7.2C (45F) smashing the previous record low of 9.9C (49.8F) from 1977 (solar minimum of cycle 20).
While Kostroma’s 5.7C (42.3F) beat 1948’s record of 6.9C (44.4F).
A new global energy reality is emerging. The era of the hydrocarbon – which propelled mankind through the second stage of the industrial revolution, beyond coal and into outer space – is drawing to a close. The stone age ended not because we ran out of stones. The same with oil and gas.
We have now entered the era of the renewable energy resource, whereby zero-emission electricity is generated via near unlimited inputs (solar radiation, wind, tides, hydrogen, and eventually, deuterium). Cutting-edge, smart electric grids, utility-scale storage, and electric self-driving vehicles – powered by everything from lithium-ion batteries to hydrogen fuel cells – are critical elements of this historic energy transition.
Each of these technological trends will displace demand for Russia’s primary source of budget revenues: fossil fuels.
Not all polar bears are in the same dire situation due to retreating sea ice, at least not right now. Off the western coast of Alaska, the Chukchi Sea is rich in marine life, but the number of polar bears in the area had never been counted. The first formal study of this population suggests that it’s been healthy and relatively abundant in recent years, numbering about 3,000 animals.
The study by researchers at the University of Washington and federal agencies is published Nov. 14 in Scientific Reports, an open-access journal from the Nature Publishing Group.
“This work represents a decade of research that gives us a first estimate of the abundance and status of the Chukchi Sea subpopulation,” said first author Eric Regehr, a researcher with the UW’s Polar Science Center who started the project as a biologist in Alaska with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Despite having about one month less time on preferred sea ice habitats to hunt compared with 25 years ago, we found that the Chukchi Sea subpopulation was doing well from 2008 to 2016.
The Kremlin has masterminded an elaborate scheme to undermine American fossil-fuel production and distribution, concludes a report by the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
Released March 1, the report, “Russian Attempts to Influence U.S. Domestic Energy Markets by Exploiting Social Media,” reveals how Russia has teamed up with U.S. and European environmental groups to use such popular outlets as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to turn American public opinion against the domestic oil and natural gas industry.
With the United States having surpassed Russia as the world’s largest producer of natural gas, and now ranking as the world’s fastest-growing producer of oil, the Russians have reason to fear what is more than a little competition. Saying America’s soaring energy development “poses a direct threat to Russian energy interests,” the report explains: …
A new 53 million-year-old insect fossil called a scorpionfly discovered at B.C.’s McAbee fossil bed site bears a striking resemblance to fossils of the same age from Pacific-coastal Russia, giving further evidence of an ancient Canada-Russia connection.
La géologie, une science plus que passionnante … et diverse