Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Russian Leaders Warm Up on Climate Change

The unprecedented heat wave, drought and forest fires across Russia and around Moscow in particular are having an important effect in convincing its leaders of the reality of global climate change, which they have previously viewed with significant skepticism. President Medvedev has recently made statements acknowledging -- for the first time -- the reality of climate change. Prime Minister Putin has also remarked that this year Russia understood that climate issues are important. Putin also noted that he was shocked at the rising sea levels and disappearing coastline of northern Yakutia, which he visited on a trip this week. The Russian Meteorological Center has been ordered to prepare a new weather and climate study program by September 1, but it remains to be seen what other action Russian government officials will take to address the issue. Russia ratified the Kyoto treaty in 2004 but has yet to join its carbon trading regime; and over 40 other Kyoto-related initiatives have languished in the absence of government action. (Russian link, Vedomosti)

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