russia could dominate a warming world after the big thaw

Es­ti­mated reading time is 2 min­utes.

THE IN­ABILITY OF RUSSIAN FARMERS to pro­vide enough food for the people was a problem under both the Czars and the So­viets and re­mains a problem today. But the big thaw that global cli­mate change is causing may be “pro­pelling enor­mous human mi­gra­tions as it trans­forms global agri­cul­ture and re­makes the world order and no country stands to gain more than Russia.”

“The Big Thaw: How Russia Could Dom­i­nate a Warming World” was written by Abrahm Lust­garten for the Prop­ub­lica web­site (De­cember 16, 2020). In it, Lust­garten states (and ed­i­to­rial changes were made for styl­istic con­sis­tency with the rest of this blog):

“For cen­turies the vast ma­jority of the land [in Russia] has been im­pos­sible to farm. But as the cli­mate has begun to warm, the land has begun to im­prove. Across Eastern Russia, wild forests, swamps, and grass­lands are slowly being trans­formed into or­derly grids of soy­beans, corn, and wheat.

The big thaw

It’s a process that is likely to ac­cel­erate: Russia hopes to seize on the warming tem­per­a­tures and longer growing sea­sons brought by cli­mate change to re­fashion it­self as one of the planet’s largest pro­ducers of food.

Around the world, cli­mate change is be­coming an epochal crisis, a night­mare of drought, de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion, flooding, and un­bear­able heat, threat­ening to make vast re­gions less hab­it­able and drive the greatest mi­gra­tion of refugees in his­tory. But for a few na­tions, cli­mate change will present an un­par­al­leled op­por­tu­nity, as the planet’s coldest re­gions be­come more temperate.

The steps its leaders have taken have po­si­tioned Russia to re­gain its su­per­power mantle in a warmer world.

Human mi­gra­tion, his­tor­i­cally, has been driven by the pur­suit of pros­perity even more so than it has by en­vi­ron­mental strife. With cli­mate change, pros­perity and hab­it­ability will soon be­come one and the same.

And no country may be better po­si­tioned to cap­i­talize on cli­mate change than Russia. It is po­si­tioned far­ther north than all of its South Asian neigh­bors, which col­lec­tively are home to the largest global pop­u­la­tion fending off dis­place­ment from rising seas, drought, and an over­heating cli­mate. Russia is rich in re­sources and land, with room to grow.

Crop production

Its crop pro­duc­tion is ex­pected to be boosted by warming tem­per­a­tures over the coming decades even as farm yields in the United States, Eu­rope, and India are all fore­cast to de­crease. And whether by ac­ci­dent or cun­ning strategy, the steps its leaders have steadily taken have in­creas­ingly po­si­tioned Russia to re­gain its su­per­power mantle in a warmer world.”


To read the en­tire ar­ticle, click here.

The steps its leaders have taken have po­si­tioned Russia to re­gain its su­per­power mantle in and it could dom­i­nate a warming world after the big thaw. Click To Tweet

Big Thaw: photo of a harvesting machine in a Russia soybean field.

FEA­TURED IMAGE: A soy­bean field in Russia’s re­mote Far East that is farmed by a Chi­nese en­tre­pre­neur. As the planet con­tinues to warm, vast new stretches of Russia will be­come suit­able for agri­cul­ture. (Photo: Sergey Pono­marev / The New York Times.)


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