Irony of ironies: The early 1990s collapse of Russian industry positions it well to collect on the Kyoto-inspired carbon trading market. Speculation is the boon could be as big as $1 billion. The Europeans are looking eastward to upgrade Russian facilities and count carbon credits towards meeting their Kyoto goals. This NY Times business piece shows there is at least one environmental topic Putin and company actually like.

The trend otherwise has been to criminalize environmental activism and accuse whistle blowers of treason. Read about Alexandr Nikitin’s time locked up by the FSB as a case in point. The former Russian submarine captain was working at the time for the Norwegian NGO the Bellona Foundation, an outstanding source for information on Russian environmental conditions and politics.