Vladimir Putin believes global warming is a “fraud” perpetuated to impede Russia’s economic growth
Vladimir Putin believes global warming is a “fraud,” an elaborate hoax perpetuated by other nations to restrain Russia’s industrial development.
Putin believes “there is no global warming, that this is a fraud to restrain the industrial development of several countries, including Russia,” political analyst and Putin critic Stanislav Belkovsky said, according to Reuters.
This skepticism is reflected in the nation’s media coverage, which focuses more on Russia’s ongoing economic crisis and and events in Ukraine and Syria. Due to the absence of a conversation about climate change in the media, the public in turn treats the subject as a low priority, and Putin’s skepticism goes largely unchallenged.
Putin’s skepticism dates back to the early 2000s when his staff conducted “very, very extensive work trying to understand all sides of the climate debate,” Putin’s ex-senior economic adviser Andrey Illarionov said, according to The New York Times.
“We found that, while climate change does exist, it is cyclical, and the anthropogenic role is very limited,” he said. “It became clear that the climate is a complicated system and that, so far, the evidence presented for the need to ‘fight’ global warming was rather unfounded.”
Putin’s view hasn’t changed since then. During a trip to the Arctic in 2010, Putin acknowledged that the climate is changing, but he doubted the change was related to human activity.
Environmentalists believe this stance is also reflected in the Russian media’s reaction to domestic affairs, reported The Daily Caller. As wildfires crackled across Siberia over the summer, turning the skies ochre and sending enough smoke to blot out satellite views of the 400-mile-long Lake Baikal, news outlets blamed the flames on “locals who routinely but carelessly burn off tall grasses every year, and sometimes incompetent crews struggling to put the fires out.”
As December’s global summit on climate change quickly approaches, Moscow’s pledge continues to illustrate a lack of interest in the matter. Moscow pledged a reduction in emissions to “70 to 75” percent of 1990 levels by 2030, but by doing so the nation is actually increasing its emissions from 2012. As things stand, Russia’s emissions are far below the levels that were produced by ex-Soviet smokestack industries in 1990.
“It is difficult to spend editorial resources on things that are now a low priority in the midst of the economic crisis,” Galina Timchenko, who runs a news site. “Unfortunately climate change is not very interesting to the public.”