Putin Apes Trump’s Climate Science Denial But Says US Open to Climate Cooperation

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Putin and Trump in conversation

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin believes US President Donald Trump is open to international cooperation on climate change beyond the Paris Agreement so long as the global community does “not antagonise the relationship with the US”. Putin echoed Trump’s climate science denial, however, saying the reasons for global warming were “not entirely clear”.

Speaking at a major energy conference in Moscow, Putin told the audience:

Without [the US] it would be impossible to reduce the influence of anthropogenic air pollution on the global climate even a little bit. Therefore, one way or another we need to involve the US in this discussion and this joint work.”

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As I understand, President Trump does not object. He says that he dislikes some provisions of the Paris Agreement, but he is not opposed to working with the global community on this matter”, he said.

Russia is also yet to ratify the landmark Paris Agreement.

Putin recalled former President George W. Bush’s refusal to ratify the Kyoto protocol and noted that the world “still found a solution” to cutting emissions. “I think the same will happen in this case”, he noted.

Climate Science Denial

During the same panel, Putin once again cast doubt on the scientific consensus around the causes of climate change. He claimed that “we are apparently witnessing global warming, but the reasons for this are not entirely clear, because there is still no answer”.

WWF Russia’s Alexey Kokorin lamented Putin’s words but noted that this was likely “psychology and not politics”, and that the president’s statement should not have any political implications inside the country.

Putin elaborated:

The so-called anthropogenic emissions are most likely not the main cause of this warming. It could be caused by global changes, cosmic changes, some changes in the galaxy that are invisible to us – and that’s that, we don’t even understand what is actually happening.”

Probably, anthropogenic emissions influence the situation somehow, but many experts believe they have an insignificant effect”.

A recent European Social Survey poll suggests most Russians disagree with that position, with 82.2 percent of those surveyed believing that the climate is changing and 83.8 percent agreeing that it’s at least partly caused by human activity (the numbers for UK are 93.6 and 91 percent, respectively).

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All Available Sources of Energy’

Another member of the same discussion panel, minister of energy of Saudi Arabia and Saudi Aramco chairman Khalid Al-Falih, said he believed climate change was happening, but that cannot be viewed in isolation from economic development and growing energy demand.

All available sources of energy” should be used to satisfy this demand, with oil and gas playing a dominant role in the immediate future, he said.

Putin agreed, stating that even though alternative energy sources are “very important”, the world will not be able to abandon coal, oil and gas anytime soon. “People will have to use them for many decades to come”, he said.

Russia has the world’s biggest gas reserves and second biggest coal reserves (after the US). It is also the world’s second biggest oil supplier behind Saudi Arabia.

Image: President of the Russian Federation/Wikimedia Commons CC BY 4.0

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