Sunday, December 29, 2019

Moscow resorts to fake snow in warmest December since 1886

Andrew Roth in Moscow
Sun 29 Dec 2019 06.52 EST

Moscow has been so warm this December that the government has resorted to sending trucks filled with artificial snow to decorate a new year display in the city centre.

Videos of the delivery for a snowboarding hill went viral as observers noted the irony of bringing snow to a city that spends millions each year on its removal.


The Moscow region is in the throes of one of its warmest winters since temperatures began to be systematically recorded 140 years ago. The temperature in the Russian capital rose to 5.4C on 18 December, topping the previous record for the month set in 1886.


Concerns are growing about the effects of global heating on Russia. Permafrost under the country’s northern towns is slowly melting, and receding Arctic ice is driving hungry polar bears to forage in urban areas. The thaw in the northern permafrost has even set off a “gold rush” for mammoth ivory by making the tusks previously buried in ice more accessible to prospectors.


Russia is a signatory to the Paris agreement to combat global heating, and Vladimir Putin said during a televised press conference last week that the crisis was a direct threat to Russia. The country was warming 2.5 times faster than the average for the planet, he noted.

At the same time, Russia recently abandoned plans to set greenhouse-gas emissions targets for business after lobbying by a powerful Russian industry association. In his remarks, Putin cast doubt on the science, however, and omitted any discussion of greenhouse gases. He suggested the climate could be changing because of a shift in Earth’s axis.

“Nobody really knows the causes of climate change, at least global climate change,” he said, adding that people should nevertheless make their “best efforts to prevent dramatic changes in the climate”.

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