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How Putin and Friends Stalled Climate Progress


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Vladimir V. Putin has long used Russia’s oil and gas as instruments of power at home and abroad. With the invasion of Ukraine in February, he has made it a weapon of war.

But he has not acted alone.

He has been abetted by powerful world leaders who share his nationalist or authoritarian leanings and who, together, have swept in to buy his coal, oil and gas and enabled him to finance his war. While their motivations for backing Mr. Putin vary widely — driven largely by pressures they face at home — collectively they have bedeviled global climate cooperation at a time when the warming planet is wreaking havoc on Earth’s seven billion people.

The war on Ukraine will cast a dark shadow over the global climate summit starting this week in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. Those talks are predicated on a willingness among nations to work together to slow climate change. The resurgence of nationalism far and wide — of which Mr. Putin’s invasion of a neighbor represents an apex — clashes with that ideal.

“The war in Ukraine is putting climate action on the…

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