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Dang Russians Just Won't Live Up to Environmentalists' Expectations

Environmentalists are demanding that countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Authoritarian governments may pay lip service to greenhouse gas-reduction goals. But in practice, those governments do whatever they believe is in their own self-interests, which means producing, selling, buying and using fossil fuels.
That hypocrisy has never been more evident than in Russia’s mad dash to pump and sell as much crude oil as it can to finance its war on Ukraine.
But the hypocrisy doesn’t end there. Several countries—including many developing countries that are demanding climate reparations from the developed economies, as outlined in the 2015 Paris Agreement—are more than willing to buy Russian oil if they can get a below-market price.
A recent Wall Street Journal news item tells the story: “Russia Nears Deals to Sell Gusher of Oil.”
Somehow “gusher of oil” seems in conflict with Russia’s participation in the Paris Agreement, where it asserted, “As part of the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the Russian Federation announces a target for limiting greenhouse gas emissions, which provides for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to 70 percent relative to the 1990 level …”
Of course, sellers can only sell if others are willing to buy. And the WSJ article notes there appears to be a lot of willing buyers.
Since the United States, most of Europe, and other allied countries have imposed sanctions and price caps on Russian oil, the sale is being handled by “tenders” (a type of auction), and will likely go through various shell companies so that countries can buy it without incurring the wrath of the West.
“The prospective buyers are trading firms competing to send the oil to end users in Russia’s biggest export markets, such as China, India and Turkey,” the Journal notes. Ultimately the oil will end up in countries located in “Asia, the Middle East and Africa.”
Some of those developing-nation buyers will likely be on the Paris Agreement’s list of countries demanding reparations from the developed economies for the alleged harm those developing countries face from a warming planet.
This example highlights the current problems with the environmentalists’ warnings that we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Authoritarian governments, which are not subject to being booted out by the voters, can and will do whatever they think is in their self-interest—even as they make happy talk with the environmentalists.
That is not going to change and may get worse as more countries seem to be moving in an authoritarian direction.