Putin Declares Climate Change Inevitable, Says Humans Not Responsible
In a reversal of his position at the 2015 UN climate conference in Paris, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared last Thursday that climate change is inevitable, it isn’t caused by human activity, and its impacts will be positive for his rapidly-warming country.
“The warming, it had already started by the 1930s,” Putin told an Arctic forum held in the northern Russian city of Arkhangelsk. “That’s when there were no such anthropological factors, such emissions, and the warming had already started.”
[Editor’s note: We could have sworn the industrial revolution had already reached Russia by the 1930s.]
The question “isn’t about preventing global warming. I agree with those people who believe it is impossible. It may be related to some global cycles or some greater outer space cycles. It’s about how to adjust ourselves to it,” Putin said. “The local communities will get adjusted.”
He cited a vague, anecdotal report to suggest “there were fewer icebergs” in Russia’s Franz Josef Land archipelago in the 1950s than in the 1930s.
AFP contrasts Putin’s remarks with his Paris statement, in which he affirmed that “the quality of life of all people on the planet depends on solving the climate problem,” and claimed Russia had exceeded its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. “We consider it crucial that the new climate agreement be based on the UN Framework of Climate Change and that it be legally binding,” he stated.
But this week, while Finnish President Sauli Niinistö declared climate change a “serious threat” to the Arctic, Putin said it would bring “more propitious conditions for using this region for economic ends.” AFP notes that Russia “is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world, according to government data, and both scientists and emergency officials have indicated that disasters such as deadly floods and wildfires are influenced by climate change.”
Think Progress notes that Russia “is expected to see increased shipping lanes and more moderate temperatures in its northern region,” and “is heavily invested in extracting Arctic oil reserves, as well, which could open up as the poles melt.”
Putin’s suggestion that local communities can just adjust to climate change is “cruel”, adds reporter Samantha Page. “Sea level rise and drought, specifically, are not events that people can ‘adjust’ to,” she notes. “Moreover, the communities most at risk to the effects of global warming are also the communities that are least able to adapt.”