Dmitri Medvedev, Russian president
Russian leaders are famously skeptical of global warming, with then–President Vladimir Putin quipping in 2003 that a warmer Russia “wouldn’t be so bad” because “we could spend less on fur coats, and the grain harvest would go up.” Then Russia caught fire this summer, choking Moscow with deadly smoke, devastating agricultural production, and convincing Medvedev and other leaders that perhaps global warming is a threat, after all.
Before quote: Climate change is “some kind of tricky campaign made up by some commercial structures to promote their business projects.” (2009)
After quote: “Unfortunately, what is happening now in our central regions is evidence of this global climate change, because we have never in our history faced such weather conditions in the past.” (2010)
- Kremlin adviser says Kyoto can’t stop climate change (scientificamerican.com)
- Will Russia’s Heat Wave End Its Global-Warming Doubts? (time.com)
- Has Russia’s Heat Wave Changed Stance on Climate Change? (time.com)
- Has a Warming Russia Outpaced the World? (green.blogs.nytimes.com)