What do you do when someone says something stupid? Well, as Brian Cox suggested to us the other day, it's best to show them up for being wrong – even if it's the Russian president.
So, that’s what we’ll do here. Last Thursday at the International Arctic Forum in Arkhangelsk, Russia, Vladimir Putin came out with some pretty ridiculous comments about climate change.
“What I’m about to say may be unpopular,” he began as part of an interview with CNBC.
“Climate change brings in more favorable conditions and improves the economic potential of this [the Arctic] region,” he said, during a panel interview with CNBC. It really won’t.
And he added: “It isn’t about preventing global warming. I agree with those people who believe it is impossible.”
Who knows what he’s trying to say here. Reducing emissions is certainly not impossible, if the world works together on a solution. He did, however, say Russia would continue to cut its emissions as per the historic Paris agreement, just as he said they had done with the Kyoto protocol.
The comments on climate change probably don’t come as too much of a surprise, as Russia is trying to expand its Arctic mining activities – perhaps with the help of a somewhat dubious deal with the US. But it’s pretty sad that the leaders of two of the world’s biggest superpowers (hint: the other one rhymes with shmump) don’t realize the effect human activity is having on the climate.
He also trotted out the old climate change denier’s favorite trope: “It [climate change] may be related to some global cycles or some greater outer space cycles. It’s about how to adjust ourselves to it. The local communities will get adjusted.”
Just to clarify, modern climate change is most definitely not being caused by “global cycles” or some “outer space cycles”. Here is some good information why.
Trump, for his part, recently scrapped Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), leading to a rather unexpected grilling of EPA Chief Scott Pruitt by Fox News. And next month he’s expected to announce what the US will do with regards to the Paris agreement.
There is no need for this debate or uncertainty. Climate change is real. Humans are driving it. And the quicker political leaders figure that out, the better.