Russia president Vladimir Putin has more in common with US president Donald Trump than we thought: Both have an apparent dislike of wind turbines, and appear believe what is fed to them by some extreme anti-wind blogs.
Putin this week chose a manufacturing and industrialisation conference in the industrial city of Yekaterinburg, located in Russia’s most polluted region of Sverdlovsk, to launch an extraordinary attack against wind energy.
“Will it be comfortable for people to live on a planet with a palisade of wind turbines and several layers of solar panels?” Putin asked.
“Everybody knows wind energy is good, but are they remembering about the birds in this case? How many birds are dying?
“They shake so much that worms come out of the ground. Really, it’s not a joke, it’s a serious consequence of these modern ways of getting energy. I’m not saying that it doesn’t need to be developed, of course, but we shouldn’t forget about the problems associated with it.”
Russian worms are mostly safe for now. The country that remains the fourth biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world has little in the way of wind power.
The source of Putin’s concern about worms? Obscure anti-wind blogs going back nearly a decade. The problem appears nowhere in scientific literature. Bird deaths caused by wind turbines are a fraction of those caused by cars, buildings, and cats, which kill billions each year.
At least, however, Putin appears to have changed his tune on the impacts of climate change – at least to a degree. Having previously pointed to the benefits of a warming climate in a country with such a severe winter, Putin’s government now concedes that “global climatic changes are taking place in the world, which have a rather significant effect on economic issues”.
It notes that “advanced countries are gradually switching to a low-carbon development model by continuously monitoring and encouraging a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in various sectors.”
Further, the Russian Government highlighted the obvious link between “the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere” the “gradual increase in temperature on Earth” and explained that “The increase in global CO 2 emissions is driven by growing electricity demand — over the past 20 years it has grown by almost 85%, and this trend continues.”
This might seem of little note but considering Russia’s current actions in the global political arena, it heralds something of a back-down from one of the biggest dogs in the yard.
So much so that the Russian Government will submit legislation to ratify the Paris Climate Agreement before September 1. It is one of only 12 countries that have yet to do so.
At the last UN climate change conference held in Poland, Russia was one of four countries who blocked a key word in the negotiating text which sought to incorporate the scientific conclusions of the Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C.
Deputy Chairman Aleksey Gordeyev “stressed” Russia’s previous position on reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 “to a level of no more than 75% relative to 1990 levels”.
He said it is now “necessary to actively engage in the work in order for the political decision voiced by the country’s leadership to support the Paris Climate Agreement to be implemented in a short time and to start the process of ratifying the document before the start of the World Climate Summit scheduled for September 2019.”