Russia's Putin says climate change in Arctic good for economy
Speaking at an Arctic forum Russian leader says ice melting and warming in the region are beneficial
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that global warming and ice melting in the Arctic are beneficial for the use of the region for economic purposes.
Speaking at an Arctic forum in northern Russian city of Arkhangelsk, Putin also said Russia's shipping and energy projects in the Arctic were guided by the principle that they should do no harm to the environment.
Earlier in the day Putin saw via video link an ice-breaking tanker docking for the first time at Russia's Arctic port of Sabetta to test a new route that could open the ice-bound Arctic Ocean to ships carrying oil and liquefied gas.
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The route is eagerly anticipated by energy firms that want to develop resources in the Arctic but face obstacles in getting oil and gas from remote and freezing fields to world markets.
Environmental activists fear commercial shipping in the Arctic — now possible because climate change has thinned the ice for part of the year — will allow exploitation of a region that up to now has been a pristine wilderness.