Minister says Russia climate doctrine could cover meteorites

By Olga Dobrovidova

The Russian Climate Doctrine, a 19-page policy document that some 100 people in the world know exists, should be updated to include the threat of abrupt climate changes caused by meteorites.

And no, this is not an Onion News Network headline, but a statement made by Mikhail Abyzov, Russia’s minister for open government affairs.

“Maybe we should initiate a broad discussion on the topicality of the main points in the Climate Doctrine, adopted three years ago – including a discussion on risks and challenges posed by meteorites and asteroids, which were laughed about until recently”, Abyzov told an expert meeting on Tuesday.

The 10,000 tonne Chebarkul meteorite crashed in the Urals region of Russia (Pic: Flickr/tonynetone)

To be fair, Minister for Natural Resources and Environment Sergey Donskoy responded to that gem of a statement with a carefully weighed comment, saying that this indeed could be one way to amend the doctrine that certainly needs a reality check.

This gives some hope that the freshly-minted climate change working group might not have to put aside the zombie-like national 2020 goal and immediately focus on the threat from space.

Chebarkul meteorite that blew up in the Russian skies and all over the Internet certainly impressed too many people at home and abroad.

Among other things, it proved to be a very convenient excuse to ask for more money on research on pretty much everything, ranging from space telescopes to, as the quote above suggests, geoengineering.

A prominent Russian scientist and former IPCC vice-chairman Yuri Izrael, well-known for his deep devotion to aerosol injections as a way to fight climate change, earlier suggested that we now need to add a new area of climate science – climate adaptation, as in learning to quickly and efficiently compensate for any abrupt space-induced changes in the Earth’s climate.

RTCC is all for more climate science, sure, but today’s incident strongly reminds of a popular Russian joke about a man who drank beer, wine, champagne and vodka and then complains of getting food poisoning from a cookie.

Surely, when one thinks of possible climate policy directions for the fifth biggest GHG emitter in the world with growing emissions, energy efficiency challenges the size of Canada and a fossil fuel addiction, the first thing that comes to mind is meteorites.

Olga Dobrovidova is special reporter for climate change and head of the Environment and Energy news desk for the leading Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

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