Russian President Vladimir Putin says global warming is being used as an economic weapon against his country. He characterized climate change as a “fraud” used to prevent Russia from tapping its vast oil and natural gas reserves.  Greenpeace claims 85 percent of CO2 equivalent emissions in Russia come from its energy industry. According to a political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky, Putin believes “there is no global warming, that this is a fraud to restrain the industrial development of several countries, including Russia.” “That is why this subject is not topical for the majority of the Russian mass media and society in general,” Belkovsky said.  Russian media leaders argue it’s not just the tone being set by Putin, but a weak economy and unemployment woes are a top concern of the Russian public — they don’t seem to care much about the weather.  “It is difficult to spend editorial resources on things that are now a low priority in the midst of the economic crisis,” says Galina Timchenko, former editor-in-chief of the successful news site Lenta.ru. Timchenko now runs Meduza, a popular site that covers Russian news but devotes little space to climate issues. 
“We found that, while climate change does exist, it is cyclical, and the anthropogenic role is very limited,” Andrey Illarionov, Putin’s senior economic adviser in the early 2000s, told The New York Times. “It became clear that the climate is a complicated system and that, so far, the evidence presented for the need to ‘fight’ global warming was rather unfounded.”  Exactly right! There is zero evidence that confiscating wealth and repressing productive activity has any significant effect on the climate. Having passed through total insanity in the time of communism, Russia may now be inoculated against it. The country could emerge as the last bastion of common sense.  In September Putin’s top adviser on global warming dismissed criticism of Russia by Climate Action Tracker, a group of climate research groups linked to the United Nations and the World Wildlife Fund, a Rockefeller funded NGO. The group said Russia has a worse record of carbon emissions than China, the United States and the European Union.  Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund have complained Russia does not consult them on its climate policies. “It is their opinion, it does not reflect anything and is not objective,” said Alexander Bedritsky. Bedritsky made the remark on the sidelines of a Moscow meeting of the United Nations’ International Panel on Climate Change. “They can say whatever they want, but our commitments are based on around 70 scenarios of how the climate system will be developing.”  That opinion endures. During a trip to the Arctic in 2010, Putin acknowledged that “the climate is changing”, but restated his doubt that human activity was the cause.  Russia’s official view appears to have changed little since 2003, when Putin told an international climate conference that warmer temperatures would mean Russians “spend less on fur coats” while “agricultural specialists say our grain production will increase, and thank God for that”.  Its difficult to know what impact Putin’s overt skepticism will have on the Paris climate meeting. The meeting is reportedly already in a lot of trouble.