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The “Energy Superpower” on Climate Change

Posted Jul 27 2009 10:51pm

Not much is known about the world’s largest nation. Its immense size, fascinating culture, and brutal history have dazzled people for centuries, yet few truly understand its intricacies (and yes…  Russia  does offer more than Moscow’s Red Square, borscht, fur hats and Chelsea football club owner, Roman Abramovich)  

A few points of interest:

Russia is one of five permanent members of the  UN Security Council

After the United States, Russia is home to the most  billionaires  on the planet 

Russia has the world’s largest  natural gas reserves, the second largest  coal reserves  and the eighth largest  oil reserves

Russia is the largest exporter of natural gas, and the second largest supplier of oil

Russia’s energy intensity  - “an economic concept used to describe, roughly, the amount of energy a country burns through to achieve a unit of gross domestic product — is double that of the United States, more than double the world’s average, and three times as much as in Japan and most countries in Europe.” (Source: The New York Times)

Considering its vast impact on the energy market, it is truly shocking how long Russia has remained out of the global warming debate. Thus far, chatter around the climate talks this December in Copenhagen has focused on the U.S., China and India.

However, according to the  New York Times, Russia has recently stepped out of the dark to discuss energy and its recuperating economy. At a gathering earlier this month, Russia’s President Dmitri A. Medvedev stated the following:

“While dealing with the problems of today, the challenges of the future must be addressed as well, so we also need to think about the kind of energy resources that will ultimately be the staple of the future power industry”

“Currently, this does not seem like a problem that is relevant now or in the near future, but we must nevertheless analyze how alternative sources of energy may be introduced” 

“We need to promote these alternative sources of energy, because sooner or later, they will replace today’s traditional hydrocarbons, as sad as that may sound to us.”

Russia, a  Kyoto  signatory, is a bit of a wild card in terms of its future energy policies and whether it will sign any treaty created in Copenhagen. For the sake of the environment, let’s keep our fingers crossed in the hopes that Russia’s economy, and investment in renewable energy, continues to develop.   

Cheryl Mihalin at  FD Element 

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