In 2015, when President Vladimir Putin gave a speech at the UN Climate Change Conference in France, he shocked those in attendance when he abandoned his previous climate change skepticism and echoed the concerns of other nations about global warming. “Climate change is one of the most serious challenges for humanity,” Putin said, adding that it brings “hurricanes, floods, drought… [and] destroys the human environment we’re used to.” He said Russia had “exceeded” its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, bragging that “Russia’s efforts have slowed global warming by almost a year,” and called for a new, legally binding climate agreement based on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
But at this year’s Arctic Summit he hosted in the northern city of Arkhangelsk, Putin reverted to form, arguing that global warming is not caused by emissions, and, moreover, that Russia can benefit from it, since it makes it easier to develop the Arctic.
The Arctic has been a Russian priority in recent years, as Moscow has built a number of military bases there, and eyes trade opportunities of the Northern Route, which could open a shorter shipping path to Asia.
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