Evgeniya Chirikova: The authorities, unfortunately, continue to view climate action as essentially subversive
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Evgeniya Chirikova, environmental activist and laureate of the Moscow Helsinki Group prize for human rights

2 November 2021

Source: Moscow Helsinki Group [original source: Русская служба «Голоса Америки»]

World leaders promised in a joint declaration following the first day of the climate summit in Glasgow to end deforestation and to reforest where it is possible by 2030, the media reports. These goals call for the allocation of 19 billion dollars, which a range of public and private funds are prepared to invest.

It is expected that the main focus over the course of the summit will be on carbon emission reduction commitments and the allocation of funding intended to help developing countries cope with the consequences of climate change.

Queen Elizabeth II addressed participants of the summit through a video message, calling on world leaders to forget their political differences and exhibit wisdom for the good of the future on Earth.

Altogether in Glasgow more than one hundred world leaders have gathered.

As became known the night before, Russian President Vladimir Putin will not participate in the forum, neither in person nor through video-link, as announced by his press secretary Dmitry Peskov. The spokesman reminded people that Putin presented the Russian position on climate at the recently concluded G20 summit. The president of the Russian Federation then promised, speaking through video-link, to ensure, among other things, Russia’s transition to carbon neutrality by 2060.

In turn, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres noted in his speech that measures embarked upon today by states “simply fall short of the urgent tasks standing before humanity.” “If governments, especially governments of the G20 countries, do not get to work and do not take the lead on world efforts, humanity awaits horrific suffering,” Guterres emphasized.

Ecologist Evgeniya Chirikova, winner of the Moscow Helsinki Group prize, in an interview with the Russian service of Voice of America, pointed out that the Russian official attitude toward climate and ecological actions can broadly be characterized as “hostile.” In her opinion, this is evidenced by the document ‘Strategy of Economic Security of the Russian Federation in the period until 2030,’ approved by order of President Vladimir Putin in May 2017. “In line with this strategy, the development of energy-efficient technology, the reduction of material consumption, is seen as a ‘danger to the economic security’ of the country,” she emphasized. “And if there is such an attitude toward green energy, this speaks to the approach to climate issues.”

At the same time, official Russian climatologists representing Roshydromet have twice issued very comprehensive, serious reports positing that climate change in Russia is occurring at double the pace as on the entire planet, Evgeniya Chirikova noted. “This means that this is a burning issue for the country,” she made clear. “Nonetheless, the authorities, unfortunately, continue to view climate action as essentially subversive. In any case, no real efforts are undertaken to change the situation in the country. Russia continues to extract and sell hydrocarbons. More than that, it is known that there are further plans for development of the coal industry. And coal is the most horrible thing that can be for the climate.”

While Putin is in power and while a resource economy prevails in Russia, there will be no change for the better in any sphere in the country, maintains Evgeniya Chirikova. Along with that, she found it difficult to say whether Moscow will manage to deliver on its promise to bring greenhouse gas emissions down to zero by 2060. “One hopes for the best. All hope now lies on the activists, who try to bring change from below, on the civil society movements. For some reason, it is the common people doing these things, as always, and not the state,” the ecologist concluded.

Translated by Alyssa Rider

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