The Kremlin responded to the words of American President Joe Biden, who earlier criticized his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin because of the burning tundra.
“The tundra is really burning, but let’s not forget that forests are burning in California, forests are burning in Turkey and in other countries of the world. These are exactly the very consequences of climate change that we are facing, ”said Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
He stressed that the Kremlin does not agree with Biden’s criticism, and Putin can tell his American counterpart about Russia’s actions to change the climate situation personally.
“And in this case, rather, all this was not reported to the US President when he spoke about Russia’s participation. <...> I am convinced that when the next communication between the two presidents takes place, <...> Putin will have a great opportunity to tell <...> Biden about what we are doing on the climate, ”said Peskov.
The American president criticized Russia the day before. During a press conference in Glasgow, where the COP26 climate summit is being held, he expressed dissatisfaction with the absence of the heads of Russia and China at the G20 forum in Rome, which was also devoted to climate. They spoke via video link.
“In him [у Путина] the tundra is burning. His tundra is literally on fire. He has very serious problems with the climate, but he is silent about the desire to do anything, ”said Biden.
The Russian branch of Greenpeace believes that the fire in the tundra in the Magadan region was paid attention only because of political statements. Otherwise, the head of the fire department of the Russian branch of the movement, Grigory Kuksin, is convinced that the fire in the North of Russia would not have been noticed.
“November. The vicinity of Magadan is a territory where snow usually lies at this time, therefore this [пожар] very clear evidence of climate change that has already occurred. This is the only reason why so much attention is now paid to this fire, “he told Gazeta.Ru, drawing attention to other fires in the Far East, in the south of Primorye, in the Khabarovsk Territory, in the Jewish Autonomous Region, in the south of European Russia. …
Kuksin added that the area of the fire could be thousands of hectares. “But this is still not very much, and by itself it is not a huge fire, which fundamentally changes the statistics in the region or in the country,” he said.
A fire could have occurred due to the fault of people. “But modern climatic conditions create an opportunity to start such fires so late and even so north,” Kuksin explained.
In his opinion, winter fires are becoming the norm due to climate change. “Changing climatic conditions create more favorable conditions for fires, one pulls the other. In fact, we are no longer surprised by winter fires, because all recent years we have been burning in winter, including on New Year’s Eve, ”he added.
According to Kuksin, “this year there is a record number of fires in the Arctic Circle.”
“In the northern territories, a separate problem is that this is a permafrost zone, and the permafrost melts much faster due to the fact that fires occur on its surface. And when the permafrost melts, methane is released, which is an even stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. This, in turn, further accelerates climate change and makes many processes irreversible, ”concluded a representative of the Russian branch of Greenpeace.
As for the fires in California, which Peskov recalled, they occur there almost every year. Large forest fires not only destroy tracts of trees, but also kill local residents. In 2018, about 100 people died. In 2021, fires destroyed about 2 thousand buildings. In total, almost 7 thousand fires were recorded in the state this year on an area of 595 thousand hectares.