Shouldn't countries like Russia and Canada support global warming?

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Shouldn't these countries benefit from it? Shouldn't they want heat to melt the ice?

user28144

Posted 2019-09-14T05:11:59.383

Reputation:

10It might be a short term benefit, but they are part of a global system. If everyone else is being disrupted by extreme weather you will eventually feel the consequences. Also, what do you do after most of the ice melts? – Alexei – 2019-09-14T06:02:54.937

23If you are interested in the effects of global warming on Northern countries you would do better to ask in the Earth Sciecne stack exchange. But in short "warmer" doesn't equal "better". – James K – 2019-09-14T06:09:28.297

2There might indeed be a case for global warming causing a larger decrease in global coldness-related deaths than the simultaneous increase in heat-related deaths. This is a talking point of for instance Bjørn Lomborg. – Steeven – 2019-09-14T08:52:31.037

1

Hello user28144! Welcome to politics.SE. Please read our tour page.

– isakbob – 2019-09-14T14:10:09.803

1I think even just the way it is posed now, this question still belongs on to the Earth Science se. – Nobody – 2019-09-14T15:09:02.743

2Russia is already benefitting from the Northern Sea Route having become more navigable. – Rodrigo de Azevedo – 2019-09-14T15:18:00.073

1Can you expand a bit on why you think they want to melt the ice? – David says Reinstate Monica – 2019-09-14T15:23:58.487

17If you were cold, would you support lighting the house you're in on fire? – NotThatGuy – 2019-09-14T15:45:51.997

@NotThatGuy lighting the house on fire only warms you temporarily, then makes you colder long term. If we add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, they’ll be around for a very long time in terms of human lifetimes. – Andrew Grimm – 2019-09-15T05:56:48.217

2As it currently is, de facto all countries except Butan and possibly Norway are actively supporting global warming. The rest is just words but only a minourity of people are ready to act. – Bregalad – 2019-09-16T18:12:18.287

Answers

17

Some short-term models of the economic effects of global warming do point to benefits for the Northern countries. In the long run however, the models tend to point to "everybody loses". But like with all long-run projections, it's harder to be certain of country-specific effects.

From https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-018-0282-y

Fizz

Posted 2019-09-14T05:11:59.383

Reputation: 76 605

14Also: Ice melt leads to sea level rise. Losing land mass and coastal development offsets whatever benefits there might be from a warmer local climate. And there are places like Bangladesh that will get submerged quickly, and areas that will become too hot to live in. Refugees will be flowing all over the place. – Denis de Bernardy – 2019-09-14T08:13:50.227

As sea levels rise more and more water is condensed into vapor forming more clouds which leads to more rainfall in deserts that causes them to blossom with plant life. Also the increase in cloud formation caused by the raising sea levels blocks heat from the sun and cools the earth. It is a cycle that takes thousands of years and can’t be interpreted using 100 years of data. I will be sharing these insights with USCAN and expect that all initiatives to end this natural cycle of global warming and cooling will end. – Kris – 2019-09-15T18:26:47.720

3No offense, but check out those papers for economic damage; it's a bunch of gobbeldy gook. The "Social Cost of Carbon" is a 5th grade attempt to set value to something that is nearly un-measurable. The fundamental assumption is the people will not change the crops they are growing as temperatures change. That is obviously wrong. When Russian farmers can go from growing turnips and rye to corn and soybeans, they are going to be much better off economically, even if turnips and rye don't grow so well any more. – kingledion – 2019-09-16T20:13:08.387

@Kris If it were a natural cycle as you describe, I'd expect a sine curve or something similar. The data doesn't look like that. – wizzwizz4 – 2019-09-24T21:32:48.760

@wizzwizz4 cooling and warming cycles that take tens of thousands of years cannot be charted based on a couple hundred years of data. – Kris – 2019-09-24T22:02:25.337

Even if the cycle is natural, we still want to stop it – it's causing floodings, extinction events, disease migration… – wizzwizz4 – 2019-09-25T06:25:23.820

As it is not being caused by human activity there is nothing humans can do to stop it. @wizzwizz4 when I was a student scientist were seriously considering how to delay the onset of the next ice age. They at one time considered coating the polar ice caps with black soot to cause melting. That was 1980. I support efforts to minimize human caused damage to the environment while recognizing that we are not powerful enough to stop the natural cycles of warming and cooling. We will simply have to adapt to the changes. – Kris – 2019-09-25T20:10:17.690

@Kris Forests aren't caused by human activity, but we can do plenty to stop them. Your argument is flawed. Want to take this to chat? – wizzwizz4 – 2019-09-25T20:44:04.607

I really don’t want to go to chat. I commented on this originally to try to demonstrate that this question is a science question rather than a political one. – Kris – 2019-09-25T20:52:59.427

@Kris: err... not so. A more correct analogy is what happens in a glass of water filled with ice that you put a tiny amount of water at the bottom in.

– Denis de Bernardy – 2019-09-27T02:27:37.960

@DenisdeBernardy over 75% of glacial ice is floating in ocean water. Melting it will not raise sea levels. Observe what happens to a glass of water with ice. When the ice melts does the glass overflow? – Kris – 2019-09-27T12:20:25.020

@Kris: If you're so sure about that, consider penciling in an answer in the Earth Science SE question I linked, and see for yourself how many downvotes you'll get. – Denis de Bernardy – 2019-09-27T12:44:17.410

@DenisdeBernardy ha of course my theories would be downvoted on the science site but that is where this question belongs. I started commenting from the unpopular point of view to demonstrate that this question is off topic here. – Kris – 2019-09-27T13:08:14.073

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Presumably yes:

  • shift of climate should move more productive climate zones to those countries
  • the carbon dioxide does not simply increase temperature, but instead retains heat, thus result is disproportionally strong in winters and nights (seems fine...)
  • Northern sea routes become viable, thus shortening the trade route between Asia and Europe
  • one exports carbohydrates, they are being combusted, CO2 level increase, ice thaws, more more natural resources in Arctic become much easier to explore - well, cynically I'd say that in a way this business model is sustainable

However:

  • Rain is much harder to predict than temperature. It applies both to weather reports and IPCC models. I'm not saying that those countries would be afflicted by unfavourable change of rain patterns, I'm just saying it's a lottery.
  • even in the biggest approximation shift of climate zones is not so unquestionably desirable for Russia, as its southern regions (ex. Caucasus) would actually lose their favourability
  • Those sparsely populated countries are not even close to utilising all arable land they have right now, so that getting more of it would not change much
  • Infrastructure build for different conditions. Let's say there is an inhospitable place with permafrost that each summer turns in to mud. Warmer climate would be theoretically highly desired, just if it actually started to thaw all those buildings may sink a bit. (which is slightly bad for a building and disaster for a railway line)
  • People mention global disruption, which is a bit tricky. Sure, an economic crisis may harm seriously such countries. Nevertheless, I'm somewhat sceptical about climate refugees. We haven't been accepting so far people from Arab peninsula on the grounds that temperature there can exceed 50 Celsius. Even if the climate become really nasty - Russia is not the most welcoming place for refugees, Canada would be indirectly shielded by US, while in Scandinavia it may be a serious problem, but it depends on future political climate (depends at which moment imported political instability makes local population go berserk)

Shadow1024

Posted 2019-09-14T05:11:59.383

Reputation: 5 094

13

"if it actually started to thaw all those buildings may sink a bit.". It's not theoretical; it really is actually happening: Melting Permafrost and the Housing Crisis in the Arctic - CityLab

– Ray Butterworth – 2019-09-14T12:55:33.120

1An additional item that might be added is that warming is just one symptom of the Earth's rapidly changing climate. The far more problematic issue (in my mind) is the increasing acidity of the oceans which could disrupt the food chain. A collapse of the food chain would be catastrophic for many animal groups. – CramerTV – 2019-09-14T22:25:45.810

14

This is partly why some people have switched to "climate change". Warming sounds good, but the transition in the ecosystem can be pretty rough. For example, much worse forest fires in Russia.

Russia also built cities and resource extraction infrastructure on permafrost. This is now melting, causing considerable damage.

pjc50

Posted 2019-09-14T05:11:59.383

Reputation: 20 613

Why do you think warming sounds good? Much of the Earth is IMHO too darned warm for comfort already. – jamesqf – 2019-09-15T17:48:04.603

@jamesqf "sounds good" when you think Russia as in Siberia and Permafrost... also a good many people like to make holidays in warm areas, to them the association can easily be good at first... until they remember that they only like the heat when next to the pool. – Frank Hopkins – 2019-09-17T16:26:26.627

@Frank Hopkins: As I said, there are plenty of warm areas (some of us would say an oversupply) on Earth as it is. Those who like that are perfectly welcome to move there. – jamesqf – 2019-09-18T18:15:21.733

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I live in Northern Canada, so I have a dog in this hunt, so to speak.

We already see effects of global warming, and while some of them are presumably more pleasant (no, we don't see as much extreme cold in the winter anymore), you might be surprised at some of the unexpected consequences.

  • We are seeing milder winters, but they're also much snowier and cloudier, since we no longer see the massive Arctic High Pressure systems that used to sit over us for weeks to give us cold, clear, calm (but sunny!) winter weather.

  • We are seeing more invasive insects coming up from the south. These would normally be killed off in severe winter weather but now range further than ever before. A pine beetle infestation killed thousands of hectares of trees not far from where I live. Those dead trees now pose a massive fire hazard.

  • You'd think that warmer weather would open up agricultural opportunities, too, but in Canada that is limited; much of the area that's warming the most sits in the Canadian Shield, an area of solid rock that comprises most of the country. The lack of arable soil is a much greater challenge to overcome than just the temperature itself. I believe much of Siberia faces that same issue.

  • Even on top of that, the towns in the far north are all built on permafrost, and as we lose that the towns are slowly sinking into the ground. The airport in Inuvik, Northwest Territories recently had to spend CDN$22 million to replace a runway that had become unusable because parts of it had sunk due to melting permafrost. That's a dramatic example but many towns are facing similar issues.

Thunderbuck

Posted 2019-09-14T05:11:59.383

Reputation: 219

2WRT farming, it takes a LONG time to produce decent soil. Consider much of the northeastern US & Canada, where good soil is pretty much limited to valleys, 10K years after the last glaciation. For the rest, there are those of us - and other creatures - who really like cooler weather, and ecosystems that are adapted to it. – jamesqf – 2019-09-15T17:53:30.217

And your forests are burning. – Martin Schröder – 2019-09-15T22:35:12.520

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Russia and Canada do support global warming, as shown in Crude Oil Production - Countries - List

At 10 million barrels per day, Russia is second only to the US (12 million) in terms of daily extraction of crude oil. Canada is in 5th place with 4 million barrels per day.

Most of that oil is used as fuel, generating atmospheric CO₂.

According to World Beef Production: Ranking Of Countries - Beef2Live | Eat Beef * Live Better, Russia and Canada are only 11th and 12th in beef cattle, well behind the US, which produces 5 times as much as the other two countries combined. Obviously these two countries need to improve their methane gas emissions.

Ray Butterworth

Posted 2019-09-14T05:11:59.383

Reputation: 2 170

6Does eating sugar mean you support getting diabetes? You haven't shown they support global warming, only that they contribute to it, which could be for any of a number of reasons (the primary ones probably being money and convenience). One might argue the definition of "support" includes contributing to something, but usually it would mean approving of it in this context (which also applies to this question, which talks about benefiting and wanting). – NotThatGuy – 2019-09-14T15:54:18.110

4@NotThatGuy Maybe I'm the one missing something, but I'm pretty sure that last sentence suggests that this answer is tongue-in-cheek. – jgon – 2019-09-14T20:43:28.903

@jgon One could argue part of a post being tongue-in-cheek doesn't make the whole post tongue-in-cheek. Also, one problem with tongue-in-cheek posts is often half the people (which I'm not ashamed to admit includes myself sometimes) don't realise they're actually tongue-in-cheek. Another problem is they can distract from answers actually answering the question. For a site intended to provide actual answers to questions, those two problems are quite detrimental. – NotThatGuy – 2019-09-15T00:53:03.947

@jgon, yes, it was partly tongue-in-cheek, and I wasn't expecting any upvotes. But the point is that Russia and Canada (and even more so the US) are quite willing to contribute greenhouse gasses if it helps their economies. E.g. the recent pushing through of a Pacific pipeline for Alberta oil by the same government that claims to be concerned about greenhouse gasses. The difference is that the US doesn't hypocritically claim to be fighting climate change; it simply denies that it exists. – Ray Butterworth – 2019-09-15T02:33:33.550

An answer this funny ought to be a content. – Andrew Grimm – 2019-09-15T05:59:09.147

@JBentley, when I first saw the question title in the list of recent additions, I thought it was a badly worded question, and I immediately thought of answers for what it appeared to be asking. Then when I read the details, I realized that my deliberate misinterpretation was in fact what the OP had actually intended. After that, I couldn't resist continuing. In practice, the government does promote activities that produce greenhouse gasses, while in public they make political gestures opposing it (e.g. carbon tax). But yes, you are right, I shouldn't be encouraged, so +1 to your comment. – Ray Butterworth – 2019-09-15T17:35:03.100

@JBentley I’m saying this post shouldn’t be an answer, instead it should be a comment. – Andrew Grimm – 2019-09-15T22:00:40.060

1@AndrewGrimm, the whole question shouldn't be a question. It is very shallow with no research. Russia and Canada are nothing but ice and cold, which are bad, so global warming will make it all better and everything will be wonderful, so why aren't their governments promoting that process? I downvoted the question; it wouldn't let me downvote my own answer. (The question is currently +15 -8 votes.) – Ray Butterworth – 2019-09-15T22:45:08.493

1@AndrewGrimm Ah ok, you wrote "content" not "comment" so I thought you were justifying it as an answer. – JBentley – 2019-09-16T11:47:21.977

@JBentley oops! I wonder if I made an error, or if it was autocorrect... – Andrew Grimm – 2019-09-16T21:28:22.053