By Tony Russell

Russian president Vladimir Putin made two closely linked announcements yesterday in his weekly television broadcast.

The first was that Russia's crude oil producer Rosneft has signed a blockbuster $85 billion deal to send an extra 100 million tons of crude oil to China over the next ten years. The second was the launching of a vast development project to build a series of year-round luxury resorts on the White Sea, most of which lies just below the Arctic Circle.

"We are confident," said Putin, "that this huge energy deal with China, coupled with Canada's exploitation of its tar sands, massive industrialization in China and India, and successful efforts by Saudi Arabia and the United States to block international agreements to cut carbon emissions, will easily suffice to warm the planet twelve to fifteen degrees within the next thirty years. That should make the White Sea region an attractive getaway spot for global tourism."

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