Russia to cooperate with US on Arctic, forests: report

Moscow, March 9 (AFP/APP): Moscow and Washington have resumed climate talks focusing on forests, nuclear energy and the Arctic, Russian media reported on Tuesday, even as bilateral ties plummeted over Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

Russia’s presidential climate envoy held talks with US counterpart John Kerry last week after the United States rejoined the Paris climate accords and President Joe Biden vowed to prioritise the environment.

“The conversation with John Kerry was an important step in getting acquainted with the new US administration’s position on climate,” Kremlin envoy Ruslan Edelgeriev told Kommersant broadsheet.

“Climate change is a significant modern challenge and should be solved collectively by the biggest greenhouse gas emitters.” Edelgeriev said Russia and the United States would focus on the preservation of the Arctic, particularly limiting soot emissions, as well as projects in the forest sector and cooperation on nuclear energy.

He said that the two countries could achieve “positive results” if they cooperate within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris climate accord. The talks came after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed climate change with Kerry last month and the two agreed to cooperate further within the Arctic Council, a group of eight countries in the region.

Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 accord last year, criticising its impact on the American economy. Tensions between the former Cold War foes were recently exacerbated by the jailing of Russian opposition politician Navalny and Moscow’s crackdown on protesters demanding his release.

The United States and the EU last week sanctioned senior Russian officials over the jailing and poisoning of the prominent opposition figure.

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