Russian President Vladimir Putin’s solution to global warming is to shovel more money to his political supporters.
Putin claimed that paying his supporters to develop nano-technological breakthroughs could reduce carbon emissions enough to slow global warming, according to a Wednesday article in an environmental news outlet. The Russian government has already pumped $403 million into the scheme. The state-owned research firm that received the funds is chaired by former Kremlin official Anatoly Chubais. So far, all the money has been from Russian taxpayers.
Russia only pledged to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 15 percent from 1990 levels. In 1990, the Soviet Union was still in existence, meaning that the country was physically much larger and, correspondingly, had much higher emissions. The only pledges Russia has made to reduce global warming therefore won’t require any actual action or cutbacks to meet.
Putin has previously stated that global warming isn’t a serious concern and might even be a fraud.
A Reuters piece, republished in The New York Times, attacked Putin for making “only vague and modest pledges of [carbon dioxide] emissions cuts.”
When other world leaders called for reducing carbon dioxide emissions to fight global warming at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, Putin made a sales pitch for Russian technology.
Putin’s Russia has excellent reasons to avoid spending tons of money fighting global warming. Russia is facing dire economic problems, which have even hampered the government’s ability to pay for continued military modernization.
Forecasts of Russia’s economic growth are grim at best. The International Monetary Fund believes that Russia’s economy shrunk 3.4 percent in 2015, the most of any major emerging market. The Russian central bank has previous predicted that if oil prices remain near $40 dollars a barrel, the economy could contract by up to 6 percent.
In the first two quarters of 2015, Russian GDP shrunk by 1.6 and 2 percent respectively, and 60 of Russia’s 83 regions are now facing a debt crisis, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Inflation in Russia reached almost 17 percent in the first two quarters of 2015, deeply cutting the purchasing power of ordinary Russians.
Russians list a weak economy, high unemployment, inflation, and other woes as much bigger concerns than global warming. Low oil prices have hampered Russia’s economic growth, and some posit it has encouraged the Putin administration to get involved in conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.
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This article originally appeared at The Daily Caller and appears here by permission.