Ed Driscoll

ClimateGate: From Russia With Love?

Dan Riehl spots the legacy media catching up on suspicions as to who may have caused ClimateGate:

Was Russia behind the Climate email disclosures?

Suspicions were growing last night that Russian security services were behind the leaking of the notorious British ‘Climategate’ emails which threaten to undermine tomorrow’s Copenhagen global warming summit.

An investigation by The Mail on Sunday has discovered that the explosive hacked emails from the University of East Anglia were leaked via a small web server in the formerly closed city of Tomsk in Siberia.

Well, it’s a thought – or was on November 26, anyway.

A climate change scandal round-up and a question: Is anyone else having fun pondering as to whether or not there’s an old KGB rat named Vlad behind the still growing potential climate change fraud? Of various suspects, Russia would have means, access and plenty of motivation. The original data leak went up on a Russian server, which could easily be spun, or interpreted, as a reason to not suspect Russia, as much as it could be a reason to suspect they were involved. Actually, it may serve even better as a reason for doubt.

Given the scope of this still exploding story in a matter of about two days, one at least has to wonder if there isn’t some force driving the thing from start to end. Yet, few people are speculating as to who pulled off the original hacking, or why. Coming as it does just before potentially significant buy in from the US thanks to Obama, there are more than a few players involved who have a lot at risk relevant to climate change speculation.

So, I can’t help but wonder who has the kind of resources it would take and plenty of motivation. If it’s one potential suspect, I’m betting it never gets found out. Given Russia’s willingness to engage in political assassination even relatively recently, isn’t it at least fair to speculate? They certainly would have motivation enough. And the resources, access and general capability to pull it off.

Russia’s economy is heavily dependent on oil and natural gas exports. In order to manage windfall oil receipts, the government established a stabilization fund in 2004. By the end of 2007, the fund was expected to be worth $158 billion, or about 12 percent of the country’s nominal GDP. According to calculations by Alfa Bank, the fuel sector accounts for about 20.5 percent of GDP, down from around 22 percent in 2000. According to IMF and World Bank estimates, the oil and gas sector generated more than 60 percent of Russia’s export revenues (64% in 2007), and accounted for 30 percent of all foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country.

Kremlin policy makers continue to exhibit an inclination to advance the state’s influence in the energy sector. Taxes on oil exports and extraction are still high, and Russia’s state-influenced oil and gas companies are obtaining controlling stakes in previously foreign-led projects. State-owned export facilities have grown at breakneck pace, while private projects have progressed more slowly or have been met with roadblocks by state-owned companies or by various government agencies.

On the other hand, as one of Dan’s readers posits, “I do not see the Russian government behind this. After all, if the AGW hypothesis is discredited, then energy exploration in the West resumes. That would impact Russia’s oil and gas companies negatively.”

Meanwhile, in other news of the curious that also may or may not have a Russian component to it, Gulag-author Anne Applebaum’s car mysteriously exploded:

The American author Anne Applebaum, wife of Radoslaw Sikorski, the Polish Foreign Minister, has been given special police protection after the engine of her jeep exploded in as yet unexplained circumstances.

Ms Applebaum, 45, author of a Pulitzer prize-winning history of the Soviet Gulag, was driving through the Jozefow suburb of Warsaw on Saturday when she heard a strange noise in her car and got out to investigate. Shortly afterwards the engine blew up. She was unharmed.

Polish police said yesterday that they considered it a technical problem but were assigning her bodyguards at least until the car had been examined in detail.

“For the time being we are treating this as a mechanical incident, albeit an unusual one,” said a spokesman. Ms Applebaum, who writes regularly for The Washington Post and other newspapers, married Mr Sikorski in 1992. Both have been sharp critics of the Kremlin.

And in recent years, mysterious incidents do seem to happen with remarkable frequency to such critics.

Update: Closer to home, Roger L. Simon explores “Why Obama switched his Copenhagen itinerary.”

Update: While the Russians may or may not have messed with Anne’s jeep, “we know it wasn’t Roman Polanski…”, Kathy Shaidle quips.

Yes, that’s definitely a reasonable assumption.