According to a 2020 DW article:

President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly denied the scientific consensus that climate change is caused by man-made emissions. Last month, in his year-end press conference, he said "nobody knows the origins of global climate change."

They have more quotes from that conference, held in late 2019:

Putin cast doubt on the man-made origins of global warming, saying "nobody knows the origins of global climate change."

"We know that in the history of our Earth there have been periods of warming and cooling and it could depend on processes in the universe," Putin said. "A small angle in the axis in the rotation of the Earth or its orbit around the Sun could push the planet into serious climate changes."

France24 quotes & paraphrases him in 2017 as saying similar things

One day after visiting the Franz Josef Land archipelago in the Arctic, Putin claimed that icebergs had been melting for decades and suggested that global warming was not mankind’s fault.

“The warming, it had already started by the 1930s,” Putin said in comments broadcast from an Arctic forum held in the northern Russian city of Arkhangelsk.

“That’s when there were no such anthropological factors, such emissions, and the warming had already started.”

The Kremlin strongman added: “The issue is not stopping it... because that’s impossible, since it could be tied to some global cycles on Earth or even of planetary significance. The issue is to somehow adapt to it.”

I don't recall Putin saying such things in the more distant past, but I haven't been paying much attention to Putin's stance on climate change. So, for how long has he been saying this?

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    Worth noting that Russia more than most places stands to benefit from global warming, at least from his perspective. Putin has long wanted greater access to shipping ports. (This is at least part of his goal in Ukraine, hence the drive to connect a land bridge to Crimea.) Having liquid water in the Arctic year round might seem like a plus to him. It also potentially opens up more offshore oil drilling possibilities up there. So whether he believes that humans have caused it or not, he might not care so much as he cares about how it benefits him. Jul 26, 2022 at 20:49
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    @DarrelHoffman It is also worth noting that while Russia might benefit in the future, negative effects from the warming are already present. Which are often mentioned by Putin in climate-related speeches. Jul 27, 2022 at 4:09

2 Answers 2


Since at least 2010 - during a visit to the Russian Arctic he made comments which were broadcast on state television which questioned the extent of anthropogenic climate change:

Wearing a black jacket to protect against the wind on the Samoilovsky Island off the settlement of Tiksi, Putin was shown ice said to be up to 3,000 years old and handled bones from a now extinct mammoth.

“Does climate change happen because the earth is breathing, living, giving off gas, methane, or is it due to the influence of human activity?” mused Putin as he sat down to tea with the scientists in their hut.

He noted that “10,000 years ago, the mammoths started to die out. This was linked to a warming of the climate, a rise in sea levels, a reduction of pastures.”

“All this happened without human influence,” he said in comments broadcast on state television.
Source: thelocal.de

Furthermore, in his opening address at the World Climate Change Conference, Moscow in 2003, he mentioned that it was important for scientists to determine to what extent mankind was responsible:

In this connection, it is important for modern science to determine the degree of real danger of global climate change. Scientists should also help to find an answer to another fundamental question. And this is what the limits are to man’s impact on the climate.

However, he went on to state Russia's existing efforts to reduce its emissions:

Over many years, Russia has made a serious practical contribution in reducing man’s impact on the climate.

This speech also included a much-quoted quip about whether climate change might even be beneficial to a northern country such as Russia, as they might spend less on fur coats, for example. In context though, Putin goes on to describe the negative effects of climate change, although does not explicitly link the phenomenon to human influence.

In Russia, you can often hear, either in joke or seriously, that Russia is a northern country. If it was two or three degrees warmer, this would be no big deal. Maybe it would even be a good thing – we would spend less money or fur coats and other warm items.

Specialists on agriculture say: the grain harvest is increasing here, and it will continue to increase, thank God.

This is all true, of course, but undoubtedly we should think of other things as well. We should think of the consequences of these possibly global climate changes. We should think about in which regions we face the difficult consequences of these changes, where there will be droughts, and where we will be forced to fight floods, which we are facing in recent years more and more frequently. We should think what the consequences will be for people who live in these regions, what the socio-economic and ecological consequences will be.


All three of the linked articles have a problem where they're quoting very small bits of Putin's speeches, followed by much longer explanations in their own words on what Putin really thinks (as they see it).

Instead, I recommend reading this whole piece (I hope you are familiar with Google Translate tool).

Highlights include:

  • Putin admits that "many have reasons to believe" climate change is caused by human activity.
  • When climate change will really kick in, humanity will tragically throw in even more activity to adapt
  • He mentions the Venus 500℃ scenario.
  • "We must minimize our impact"
  • Problems with permafrost mentioned.
  • Then the punchline comes - he tells that in three decades after collapse of USSR, Russia has massively decreased its emissions, from 3.1 billion T (just the RSFSR) to 1.6 billion T.

The last point is probably correct due to an effect of unusually high base - USSR did not care in the slightest when it had to burn some mineral fuel, and had a lot of quite wasteful tech and industry. This is an important taking point for Putin, where he argues that have USSR not fell, it would burn an additional enormous amount of oil and gas from 1991 and where we are now, so the whole USSR -> Russia transformation has given a decade of (thermal) runway to the world, and proceeds to ask has the world admitted this and/or made a good use out of it.

Then Putin reiterates that Russia is going to continue restricting emissions.

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    That article that you link to is dated 2021, so isn't it about a different speech? The backgrounds from the photo(s) don't match either with the 2019 conference. Anyway, I'm somewhat aware (after more googling) that Russia has been making some changes around COP26, which was held that year (2021), although critics question how "net zero" will be achieved when the only concrete production plans envisage an increase in fossil fuel extraction and exports. Jul 26, 2022 at 9:56
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    The way you wrote your 1st sentence suggested to me that you're trying to imply that somehow DW quoted him out of context. If you're trying to say that in 2021 his position was more detailed, that's a somewhat different claim. (And yeah, politicians sometimes change their positions over time.) Jul 26, 2022 at 10:08
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    @alamar because his question was about how/whether Putin's position changed with time, and in this context one might expect that 2019 position was different from 2021 one. Here's the link to 2019 conference's transcript, you can replace the one you provided with it. As far as I can see, the only difference between the two is that in 2019 Venus wasn't mentioned. Jul 26, 2022 at 10:10
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    @Fizz to be fair, the focus in this speech is a bit different from how DW article presents it. At least to me it reads more "whether warming is man-made or not, something must be done about it" than plain ol' denial. Or it might be just an attempt to save face in case of possible failure, as one might expect from any politician. Jul 26, 2022 at 11:10
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    @alamar You're wrong on one point and should update your answer, the decease of 3.1 million -> 1.6 million isn't USSR -> Russia, it's RSFSR(Russian part of the USSR) -> Russia. There was a huge industrial collapse with the dissolution of the USSR and the decease in the other ex soviet republics is even bigger.
    – Eugene
    Jul 26, 2022 at 18:06

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