Moscow Smoke

The smoke has finally cleared from Moscow, after days of smog caused by forest and peat fires from their record hot summer. Air pollution during the crisis has been at 3 times higher than the acceptable level. And the death rate has doubled. The city’s morgues are close to full. If ever there was concrete evidence that smog kills, this is it.

Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev, said, “What’s happening with the planet’s climate right now needs to be a wake-up call to all of us to take a more energetic approach to countering the global changes to the climate.” Russian media, unlike Western media, is placing the blame for the crisis squarely on climate change. Russia has declared a moratorium on wheat exports, contributing to a 70% increase in world wheat prices. And it is very significant, if Russia, a major oil producer, starts to take climate change seriously.

Climate scientists are always reluctant to blame a single weather event on climate change. After all, we have had weather extremes before. Western media has always followed scientists lead on this, and has been reluctant to make the link. They are right I suppose. But some media has been very willing to discuss the views of the climate deniers, influenced by fossil money, as if it had as much weight as the views of the overwhelming majority of the world’s scientists. Why does the media follow the scientists advice about a single weather event, but report on climate science as if there is still debate? Odd.

When you eat bread made with the new higher wheat prices, you are paying for your coal fired electricity. Climate change has a cost, and it is real, and it will be even more in the future. There are 14 million in Pakistan’s flood areas who might just agree.

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