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Clara Ferreira Marques

Economic Reality Is Dragging Russia Toward Climate Acceptance

Europe’s border tax and China’s carbon-neutral ambitions might just force a fossil fuel giant to face climate facts.

From strength to vulnerability.

From strength to vulnerability.

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Could climate alarm bells be ringing in the Kremlin? Official pronouncements and a newfound urgency suggest the reality of greener global demand may finally force a fossil fuel behemoth to accept the inevitable.

Last week, in a ministerial meeting that touched on environmental monitoring, President Vladimir Putin warned officials that over the past four decades or so, temperatures increased in Russia nearly three times faster than the global average. He noted climate change was behind wildfires sweeping across Siberia. Earlier, he had dedicated a significant portion of April’s state-of-the-nation address to climate, flagged it as an area of potential cooperation with the United States and ordered officials to draw up an emissions reduction plan, due by October. Quite the change of tone for a leader who once mocked renewable energy.