The frozen treasures of the Arctic... What is Russia’s position?

2024-02-24 2024-02-24T15:30:26Z
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Weather of Arabia - Controlling the rich Arctic resources and their strategic value has been an ambition of Soviet and Russian leaders throughout the ages, and Putin is no different from that, as he seeks to make the Arctic a pillar for Russia’s return to its status as a great power.

At the Arctic Forum held in the city of Arkhangelsk in northern Russia in April 2017, Putin acknowledged this, stating that global warming and melting ice in the Arctic are considered beneficial for using the region for economic purposes.

Climate change is turning into a historic crisis.. What is Russia’s position?

A decade ago, in 2007, Russian divers placed a flag at the bottom of the Arctic, next to an American flag still flying at the South Pole, in an attempt to assert Moscow's ownership of nearly a million square kilometers of a sprawling region, which has rich... Rich mineral.

Russia did this at a time when climate change around the world has become a historic crisis, with global warming posing serious risks. Globally, climate warming is a catastrophe that threatens lives and livelihoods, causing floods, desertification, fires and drought. These phenomena threaten to make vast areas less habitable, and are also leading to the largest migration of refugees in history. To confront this crisis, it will require enormous efforts and spending to address it.

The consequences are similar for Russia, where temperatures are rising 2.5 times faster than the rest of the world. In 2020, areas across Russia experienced the highest temperatures on record, contributing to wildfires spanning an area the size of Greece. These fires resulted in a third of the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere compared to 2019.

More dramatic freeze-thaw cycles are eroding urban infrastructure in Russian Arctic cities, where more than two million people live. This poses a growing risk to Russia's oil and gas pipelines, 200,000 kilometers long, as well as thousands of miles of roads and railway lines, linking some of Russia's widest rivers.

Potentially catastrophic release of carbon into the atmosphere

This could lead to a potentially catastrophic release of carbon into the atmosphere, which would no longer be a problem for Russia alone. According to one study, a 30 to 99 percent decline in the permafrost that covers nearly two-thirds of Russia's territory could put the Earth "on the brink" by the end of the century.

Dramatic shifts in global weather patterns - accelerated by warming Arctic waters and shrinking ice cover - are expected to increase droughts in the rich agricultural "breadbasket" regions of southern Russia. This could pose a risk to global food security, threatening key Russian exports such as wheat.

An increase in droughts, floods, forest fires, permafrost damage and diseases could reduce GDP by 3% annually in the next decade, according to the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation.

Climate damage to buildings and infrastructure alone could cost Russia up to 9 trillion rubles ($99 billion) by 2050, according to Russia's Deputy Minister for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic, Alexander Krutikov.

Limiting warming does not prevent ice from disappearing

Scientists warn that limiting the rise in average global temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius may not prevent Arctic sea ice from disappearing in the summers of this century, even if governments achieve a basic goal to limit global warming, as set in 2015. .

But for a few countries, climate change will represent an unparalleled opportunity, as colder regions of the planet become more temperate. No country may be better placed to benefit from climate change than Russia.

There is every reason to believe that these regions will also see an unusual influx of people displaced from hotter regions of the world as the climate warms.

It can be said that the threat facing the Russian economy as a result of climate change may also be an opportunity for prosperity and prosperity, especially with summer sea ice declining at a rate of approximately 13% over the past 40 years, the Arctic temperature rising at a rate about four times faster than the global average, and the loss of... The Polar Ocean has nearly a million square miles of ice.

In 2020, researchers at the Colorado-based National Snow and Ice Data Center reported that the Arctic Ocean's minimum summer ice mass is about a third below the average in the 1980s when monitoring began, and is expected to be free of summer ice by about mid-century.

Countless riches under the ice

Above and below this vast ice, countless riches sleep in a deep slumber; There are huge reserves of minerals such as gold, nickel, platinum and palladium, in addition to rare earth metals, worth trillions of dollars, discovered along Russia's coastline swaying next to the pole.

To be sure, there are vast deposits of oil and natural gas deep underground, worth an estimated $30 trillion, meaning the Arctic is increasingly worth fighting for.

There are also huge quantities of fish living in the plankton-rich Arctic waters, enough to feed the growing human population. In addition, fossil fuels are on hand in an era of dwindling reserves, as global industry continues to rely on traditional methods of energy production.

Estimates vary, but approximately 16% of the world's untapped oil and 30% of the world's undiscovered gas are believed to be buried under the ocean.

On the other hand, Russia's over-reliance on oil and gas production is an obvious weakness as the world shifts toward low-carbon energy sources and carbon neutrality. Arctic LNG may serve as a bridge for Russia to a low-carbon future, but global demand for the gas is expected to decline sharply by the middle of this century.

According to the document “Strategy for Developing the Arctic Region of the Russian Federation and Providing National Security for the Period Until 2035,” this region claimed by Russia in the Arctic contains more than 17.3 billion tons of oil and 85.1 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. However, this gas and billions of barrels of oil are the story of a postponed conflict between 8 countries sharing control over the ocean expanse.

On the other hand, Russia's over-reliance on oil and gas production is an obvious weakness as the world shifts toward low-carbon energy sources and carbon neutrality. Arctic LNG may serve as a bridge for Russia to a low-carbon future, but global demand for the gas is expected to decline sharply by the middle of this century.

According to the document “Strategy for Developing the Arctic Region of the Russian Federation and Providing National Security for the Period Until 2035,” this region claimed by Russia in the Arctic contains more than 17.3 billion tons of oil and 85.1 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. However, this gas and billions of barrels of oil are the story of a postponed conflict between 8 countries sharing control over the ocean expanse.

Of those eight countries, five claim some of the polar ice cap as their own, but many of these claims overlap with each other. The biggest point of contention centers on an underwater mountain in the range known as Leonus Ridge, which Canada, Denmark and Russia claim as their rightful property.

Moscow is firmly in the lead in seeking to control these resources, currently owning nearly half of the Arctic territory and 24,000 kilometers of coastline. This regional dominance has helped Russia significantly expand its forces in the region over the past years.

Learn more about climate change developments around the world here


Source: aljazeera

This article was written originally in Arabic and is translated using a 3rd party automated service. ArabiaWeather is not responsible for any grammatical errors whatsoever.
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