Russia Won't Pick Fight With Trump on Climate, Lawmaker Says

  • Committed to Paris accord but ‘other issues more important’
  • Pushkov: Kremlin doesn’t see topic of contention with U.S.

Russia intends to stick to international climate commitments, though it may not argue with President Donald Trump if he decides to weaken U.S. adherence to the Paris accord, according to a senior Russian lawmaker.

“We will support all the efforts that lead to progress in this area,” Alexei Pushkov, a member of the Russian upper house’s defense and security committee, said in an interview in Munich on Saturday. “But I don’t think we will choose to have it as a topic of contention with President Trump.”

It is not clear when and if Trump will make good on his frequent campaign promise to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, a 2015 United Nations agreement to curtail greenhouse-gas emissions that was adopted by nearly 200 countries. Since he took office, the administration has rolled back U.S. rules to combat climate change and eased restrictions on fossil-fuel companies.

For Russia, the world’s biggest energy exporter and a signatory to the Paris convention, there are more important bilateral challenges than climate to tackle with the U.S., Pushkov said during an international security conference. The U.S. has imposed sanctions on Russia over President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea and the Kremlin’s role in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Climate change “is an important issue,” but “there are other issues more important for us,” the Russian lawmaker said. “I don’t think we will argue with President Trump.”

— With assistance by Elena Gergen-Constantine

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