“Don’t worry, be happy!” Putin quipped yesterday after being asked for his reaction at an economic forum in St Petersburg, Russia. He said the climate deal doesn’t formally go into effect until 2021, giving nations years to come up with a constructive solution to combating global warming.
For Putin, leader of the world’s biggest crude oil producer and fifth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, there was plenty to cheer in Trump’s rejection of the agreement painstakingly negotiated by the Obama administration and signed by 195 countries.
Trump’s move drives another wedge between the United States and its traditional European allies, while aligning its stance closer to Russia in boosting fossil fuels while deferring action to curb climate change.
While Putin’s government signed the 2015 Paris accord, he has delayed formally ratifying the agreement for at least two more years. Russia’s voluntary reduction goals under the deal are among the weakest submitted by any country, potentially allowing it to spew more planet-warming emissions in future years, not less.
Russia pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by at least 25 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030. That gives Putin lots of wiggle room because the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s triggered the collapse of the country’s centrally planned economy, greatly reducing carbon emissions in subsequent years.
Russia also insisted in its Paris submission that it be given the maximum potential credit for carbon adsorbed out of the atmosphere by Siberia’s vast undeveloped forests. Under current projections, Russia could step up its carbon emissions and still claim to meet its 2030 goals.