ST PETERSBURG (Reuters) -President Vladimir Putin said on Friday it was a "myth" Russia was unconcerned by climate change, but warned against the danger of transforming the drive for carbon neutrality into a tool of "unfair competition".
Russia, which joined the Paris climate change pact in 2019, is the world's biggest exporter of natural gas and number two exporter of oil.
Speaking at an annual economic forum in St Petersburg, Putin defended the use of natural gas, which he said was clean and should be used during the transition to cleaner energy. He also said Russia was planning to issue green bonds.
"(There is) talk that Russia is not very interested in resolving the global problems from climate warming, but I can immediately say that is nonsense, a myth, if not outright misrepresentation," he said.
"Like other countries, we feel the risks and threats in this area... We need to put aside political and other differences and not turn the transition to carbon neutrality into an instrument of unfair competition," Putin said.
Russian officials have criticised proposals by the European Union to impose carbon taxes on imports.
Putin said Moscow saw things like melting permafrost as a threat and that it has entire cities built on permafrost in the Arctic.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Oksana Kobzeva; writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Alison Williams, Kirsten Donovan)