US President Joe Biden criticised his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at the Climate Change Summit (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland.
US President Joe Biden reminded the participants of the summit that the leaders of Russia and China did not show up for the G20 meeting in Rome. China is a country that claims to be a world leader, but at the same time, China de facto does not participate in such forums as the G20, Biden said.
"The fact that China, trying to assert, understandably, a new role in the world as a world leader, not showing up? Come on! The single most important thing that's gotten the attention of the world is climate. Everywhere. From Iceland to Australia, it just is a gigantic issue. And they've walked away. How do you do that and claim to be able to have any leadership mantle? The same with Putin and Russia," said Biden.
"His tundra is burning — literally, the tundra is burning. He has serious, serious climate problems, and he is mum on willingness to do anything," he added.
Putin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented on Biden's remarks about the burning tundra in Russia.
"The tundra is burning indeed, but let us not forget that forests in California, Turkey and other countries of the world are burning too,” said Peskov.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he respected the decision of Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping not to attend the summit due to the coronavirus pandemic.
During his video message for the participants of the summit on climate change, Russian President Putin said that Russia's forests would contribute to saving the planet from climate change.
Russia set a goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, Putin added. The Russian forests have a significant potential to absorb carbon dioxide and generate oxygen. Moreover, they account for almost 20 percent of all forests on the planet.
"We take most profound and vigorous measures to preserve them, improving forestry management, fighting illegal logging and forest fires, increasing the area of reforestation," Putin said.
As many as 105 states, including Russia, the USA, Great Britain, Brazil, China, Indonesia, agreed to put an end to deforestation in their countries. The signatory countries are home to 85 percent of forests of the world. The agreement states the intention to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030 while preserving the sustainable development of agricultural areas. The program will receive $19.2 billion of funding from public and private organizations.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin said that the main task for Moscow at the climate summit is to recognize the role of forest projects and nuclear energy as real tools to combat climate change. Russia calls on the world community to take concerted action to solve climate problems, he noted. Given the vastness of Russia, climate change is a major challenge for the country, Vershinin said.
The information system of distant monitoring (ISDM) of the Federal Forestry Agency of the Russian Federation recorded that 18.2 million hectares of forest were burned down on the territory of Russia. Central, Southern, Volga and Ural districts, Siberia and the Far East are susceptible to wildfires most among other regions of Russia. According to experts, the wildfires in Russia turned out to be not only the most dangerous for the planet, but also the largest in the country since the beginning of the 21st century.
In 2020, wildfires destroyed 18.1 million hectares of forest in Russia.
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