President Putin, 'Wake Up and Face Reality!'

Press release - 3 October, 2003
Greenpeace welcomed the conclusions of the World Climate Change Conference, which reaffirmed the human role in global climate change, despite numerous attempts by various climate skeptics to undermine the process, and some highly unusual procedures on the part of conference Chair, Yuri Izrael.

Greenpeace also urged Russian President Putin to stop listening to a handful of oddballs and fossil-fuel industry funded hacks, and pay attention to the consensus of the world's best climate scientists, the 119 nations that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol, and even the relevant ministries in his own government: climate change is happening and we must act now. It is in Russia's interest, and the interests of the entire world.

"Presidential Advisor A.N. Illarionov and conference Chair Yuri Izrael are an embarrassment to the proud tradition of Russian science," said Steven Guilbeault of Greenpeace from Moscow. "If President Putin is getting his advice on climate change from the likes of Illarionov and Izrael, then no wonder he doesn't understand the urgency of Kyoto ratification."

The workshop on the impacts of climate change concluded that: "There is growing evidence of existing, current, measurable changes."  For Russia these impacts include: reduced agricultural yields, reduced food security in southern Russia, and on-going desertification.

These conclusions concur with those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, representing the work of three thousand of the world's best climate scientists, which published its Third Assessment Report detailing the extent of human misery for millions, environmental damage and species loss expected over the coming decades, particularly in the developing world.

In the face of these conclusions, President Putin's jokes about climate change being 'good for Russia because people won't have to wear their fur hats so often', sound incredibly crude. Furthermore, his advisors' pseudo-scientific antics have shocked the scientific community.

'President Putin cannot know how callous his remarks sound. We cannot stop human induced climate change completely, it's already happening; but if we act now, we can prevent the suffering future generations. We must believe that President Putin is misinformed. Or is he, too, now just another puppet of the Bush administration?" asked Guilbeault

There has been no new science put forward at this conference questioning the threat of climate change. On the contrary, on an almost daily basis new information emerges about melting ice caps, global drought, floods, storms, and the spread of disease from warming temperatures which confirms and deepens the scientific consensus on climate change.

Greenpeace urges German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to impress a bit of reality on President Putin during his visit to Moscow next week, and explain to him to true costs of delay on moving forward with the Kyoto Protocol and the stronger measures that will need to be taken to fight the global threat of climate change.