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2 Jun, 2017 13:11

Putin on Paris climate change agreement: ‘Don’t worry, be happy’

Putin on Paris climate change agreement: ‘Don’t worry, be happy’

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for calm in the wake of Donald Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement, joking that any bad weather encountered around the globe could now be blamed on ‘American imperialism’.

Speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), the Russian president said the panic surrounding Trump’s decision has been blown way out of proportion, noting that there is still time before the agreement, which was signed in 2015, goes into effect.

"Don't worry, be happy," Putin said in English. 

This agreement [the Paris Agreement on climate change] has not yet even come in effect. It will come into effect in 2021. So we still have time. If we all work constructively, we can agree on something,” he said. 

“The United States has ratified [this agreement], as I recall, but we [Russia] have not yet,” he added. “We haven’t done this because we want to wait until when the rules of allocation of resources, and other technical – but important – issues, are ironed out.”

The Paris accords were worked out in 2015 to replace the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions. Russia is one of its 195 signatories, but has yet to ratify the document.

READ MORE: US ‘wants to untie itself’ from world, European Commission chief warns

“It’s about preventing temperature changes of two degrees,” he reminded the audience, noting that “we here [at the forum] somehow do not yet feel that the temperature is rising.”

“By the way, we should be grateful to President Trump. In Moscow it’s raining and cold and even, they say, some snow. Now we could blame this all on American imperialism, that it’s all their fault. But we won’t.”

On Thursday, Donald Trump announced he was taking the US out of the Paris Agreement, which it had entered in 2015 under Barack Obama. Trump, a climate change skeptic, called the deal “unfair” to the United States, which is second only to China as the world’s greatest greenhouse gas emitter. The decision was met with criticism from many world leaders, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying in a televised statement that “there is no Plan B” on climate because “there is no Planet B”.

While not directly criticizing Trump, Russia has confirmed its commitment to the Paris deal.

“President Vladimir Putin signed this convention when he was in Paris. Russia attaches great significance to it,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the media on Thursday. “At the same time, it goes without saying that the effectiveness of this convention is likely to be reduced without its key participants.”

He added that, at the moment, “there is no alternative to” the Paris convention.