russia could dominate a warming world after the big thaw

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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.

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.

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.

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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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