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Is Russia One Deadly Heat Wave Away From Climate Protection?


"Practically everything is burning."

That's what Russian President Dmitri Medvedev had to say about the results of a massive heat wave that has already left more than 1,000 dead and, according to some estimates, is now killing 700 a day.

It took this toll to finally make climate change hit home for Medvedev. During the climate negotiations in Copenhagen last year, he had been one of the highest-profile global warming skeptics. Now he is singing a different tune.

His exact words are important to note. Medvedev said, "What's happening with the planet's climate right now needs to be a wake-up call to all of us, meaning all heads of state, all heads of social organizations, in order to take a more energetic approach to countering the global changes to the climate."

Medvedev's sudden willingness to connect climate change to the heat-wave induced forest fires enveloping Moscow marks a significant shift.

From other world leaders, this sort of statement might seem mundane. But from a president whose official line has been that Russia will continue to develop and increase its carbon emissions, and in a country that ranks third behind China and the U.S. for emissions already, it could be a game-changer.


Tagged in: Climate protection



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