Vladimir Putin addressed world leaders at the White House climate summit on Thursday, saying that Russia is “genuinely interested” in international cooperation to solve the climate crisis.
The Russian leader made the remarks on the first day of talks, organised by President Joe Biden in order to drive ambition ahead of the broader United Nations international summit, COP26, in Glasgow later this year.
However while Mr Putin said that he had ordered his administration to “significantly cut the accumulated volume of net emissions” by 2050 in Russia, he refrained from giving a specific emissions-reduction target.
President Biden has invited allies and adversaries alike to the event, putting aside other fraught geopolitical issues in the hopes of more dramatic climate action.
Some 40 world leaders will participate in the two-day Leaders’ Summit, coinciding with Earth Day, including the US’s fellow largest polluters, China, India and Russia.
Invitees include leaders of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, which total about 80 per cent of global emissions. Nations on the frontlines of the climate crisis, already facing more extreme weather and rising sea levels, have also been invited.
Leaders spoke from their home countries at the wholly virtual event, which suffered early technical glitches. They pledged action to lower carbon emissions, although differed on the details.
President Putin said: “Russia is genuinely interested in galvanising international cooperation so as to look further for effective solutions to climate change as well as to all other vital challenges.”
Mr Putin also touted Russia’s moves to mitigate climate change. He claimed that the country had halved emissions since the 1990s, highlighting the “almost zero” greenhouse gases from its nuclear power facilities. He also said that Russia is beginning to pilot projects on carbon pricing and trading.
He said that Moscow was ready to offer joint projects and consider preferences for foreign companies willing to invest in clean technologies, including those in Russia.
He also claimed that Russia takes its commitment to international agreements “very seriously”, including the Paris Accords to reduce global emissions.