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Interview with Sergey Roginko

Sergey Roginko from the Environment and Development group of the Institute of Europe joined RT to speak about the interconnection between climate and weather.

Russia Today: Hurricanes, floods, intense heat waves, unexpected weather changes. Is it all linked to climate change?

Sergey Roginko: There is a lot of confusion between climate and weather. It is a big mistake not to make a clear distinction between them. So what is normally called climate? This is a set of some basic weather conditions like humidity, average temperature, etc. This is what makes difference between climate in Paris and Moscow or Beijing and New York. But these basic conditions may vary considerably. They may occasionally bring heat to Siberia in winter or, as it happened recently, winter to Buenos Aires, where people have not seen snow for the last eighty years.

RT: So are these recent phenomena normal?

S.R.: Weather phenomena have existed for centuries and even thousands of years. If you take the Bible, you'll see a lot of weather phenomena and disasters like hurricanes or floods described there. All these are part of natural history and life of mankind. Still, people do contribute to weather. For example, lack of agricultural technologies may bring dust hurricanes and result in desertification of ploughed lands. That's what has been detected recently. 

RT: How do these changes to the weather affect the lives of people in Russia and around the world?

S.R.: No natural disaster affects people too much. Yet it always brings some problems – which are normally dealt with. And the ability to cope with these problems is a crucial thing challenging the governments.

RT: Let's make it clear then. Is there such thing as climate change? If so, what's being or has been done around the world to stop it?

S.R.:  Climate change has been underway on the Earth for at least the last half a million years. There have been rises and downfalls of temperature. For example, it was rather hot at the time when dinosaurs lived on the Earth. Then the ice age came. Now we are living a steady rise of temperature, which has been continuing for at least the last 15,000 years. It's a kind of natural cycle, it takes about 150,000 years for each temperature rise and downfall. What is being severely argued now is that this natural process is being 'helped' – by CO2 emissions, by industry and transport. So keeping in mind that climate change is natural, we can contribute to stop some drastic and excessively speedy changes. But still we won't be able to get control over the whole process of getting warmer or colder.

RT: So as climate change is natural we have nothing to be afraid of?

S.R.: I wouldn't say there's nothing to be afraid of. We should be always aware of the coming changes. Now we are foreseeing the warming, and we need to adapt ourselves to it and take measures.