As unsettling as it may seem, the United States and Russia are using climate change mitigation talks as a means to collaborate despite background tensions. Relations between the United States and Russia are rife with election tampering accusations, cyberattacks and economic sanctions against one another. Some point to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 as the starting point for friction between Washington and Moscow. Recently, a presidential summit took place in Geneva, Switzerland. The United States’ president, Joe Biden, and Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin were able to agree upon a joint statement which establishes armed conflict risk reductions and shared goals against nuclear warfare. The new U.S.-Russia Presidential Joint Statement on Strategic Stability extension reasons that a nuclear war is a lose-lose situation, and therefore, must not be fought.
Climate change represents the first sign of cooperation between the two countries. Inappropriate as it may be, strengthening ties between the nations may depend on closely collaborating to mitigate climate destabilization. Though Russia and the U.S are part of the Paris Climate Agreement, which is a legally binding document aimed at limiting average global temperature increases, both nations are among the world’s top producers of coal and petroleum fumes (the U.S is second and the Russia Federation is fourth place). A meeting between John Kerry, a United States climate delegate met with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov may mark the beginning of U.S and Russian environmental regime shifts. Climate change represents a threat to Russia’s permafrost, which could eventuate changes in snow depth and alter its Arctic wildlife ecosystems while the United States’ Alaskan tundra could experience irreversible changes in its icy and coastal regions.