Tags: Russia | Mantra | drill | comrade

In Russia, the Mantra Is 'Drill, Comrade, Drill!'

By John Morgan   |   Sunday, 29 Sep 2013 08:45 PM

Environmental activists are trying to slow the Kremlin's push to develop fragile Arctic expanses that are growing more accessible on account of melting ice and snow, but Russian authorities are apparently willing to defend drilling rigs and extraction sites at gunpoint.

In a piece partly headlined “Drill, Comrade, Drill,” the Christian Science Monitor detailed a collision this month of Greenpeace activists and the Russian government on a giant drilling platform in the Barents Sea.

Some of the Greenpeace activists ended up in prison, where they will spend at least two months while authorities sort out the case, and their ship was seized in a SWAT-syle action, the Monitor reported.

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Not for the first time, President Vladimir Putin inserted himself in the middle of controversy, calling Russia’s Arctic resource development rush the start of a new “industrial era” in the mostly virgin region.

The Monitor’s conclusion: “The way the Kremlin sees it, the vast treasures being revealed by the retreating Arctic ice – oil, gas, iron ore, minerals—are Russia's manifest destiny, with Moscow writing a new chapter in the history of the desolate, once-frozen region.”

The incident occurred Sept. 18, when activists from the Greenpeace icebreaker Arctic Sunrise tried to board a platform owned by the state corporation Gazprom-Neft, the Monitor reported.

Greenpeace claimed the platform did not have proper environmental approvals.

The situation apparently escalated from there. The newspaper said the Russian coast guard seized the Greenpeace ship “in international waters, firing ship-mounted guns, using helicopters to rappel onto the boat's deck in a SWAT-style raid, and towing the boat to Murmansk.”

Russian authorities announced that the 30 activists, who came from 18 different countries, would be charged with piracy, with a potential sentence of 15 years in prison. Seven of them are still being held.

The Globe & Mail said international climate scientists are more certain than ever that people are the main cause of global warming.

That’s the conclusion of a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which “played down the fact that temperatures have risen more slowly in the past 15 years,” the Canadian newspaper said.

The Globe & Mail predicted the report from the U.N. sponsored group, compiled from the work of hundreds of scientists who met this week in Stockholm, could see some skepticism because its 2007 report included an error that exaggerated the rate of melting of Himalayan glaciers.

But The New York Times reported that one American scientist who helped write the IPCC report said that just because global temperatures have risen more slowly in recent years does not mean climate change is not occurring.

“People think that global warming means every year is going to be warmer than the year before,” said the scientist, Gerald A. Meehl. “It doesn’t work that way. It’s more like a stair-step kind of thing.”

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