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Moscow New Poster Girl for Climate Change

President admits it’s not a media conspiracy

People grope their way through crippling smog and heat in Moscow’s Red Square.

Remember the pea-soup green haze over Beijing before the Olympics last summer? There were worries it would poison the Games. But that’s all paled in comparison to this summer in Moscow.

Better known for its frigid winters, Moscow is now becoming the global red alert for an overheated planet.

Temperatures have topped 100 degrees – the hottest on record. Average highs in July and August in Moscow typically linger in the 70s.

As suffocating smog hangs over Moscow, citizens gasp through face masks, visibility is down to 50 yards in parts of the city, and flights are diverted at the city’s airports. Airborne pollutants like carbon monoxide have reached more than six times normal levels. The smog has seeped into buildings and the city’s subway system.

Wildfires surrounding the city burn hopelessly out of control. Drought has destroyed crops. The government has banned all grain export to preserve supplies of food in the country (thus sending world grain markets into turmoil and threatening the lives of poor people in dozens of other countries).

Only a few months ago, before the international conference on climate change in Copenhagen, state-owned Channel One TV aired a documentary called The History of a Deception: Global Warming, arguing that the idea of man-made climate change was nothing more than an international media conspiracy.

Two months later, when President Medvedev visited Tomsk, he called the global-warming debate “some kind of tricky campaign made up by some commercial structures to promote their business projects.”

What a difference a catastrophic heat wave makes. Now President Medvedev has become the first leader of a major power to blame this kind of disaster firmly and squarely on climate change.

“What’s happening to the planet’s climate right now must be a wake-up call to all of us: all heads of state, all heads of social organizations, to take a stronger approach to countering the global changes to the climate,” he said on July 30th.

See also:
Live webcam from a bank window in downtown Moscow
Video of Prime Minister Putin being harassed by angry crowd as he tries to explain situation.