Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that he may not attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, or COP26, in Glasgow in November over concerns about the coronavirus.
Putin, who was speaking to CNBC’s Hadley Gamble at Russian Energy Week, said he had not decided whether he would personally travel to COP26 “due to the pandemic situation.”
However, Putin added that he would “still participate in the work of the COP26.”
The COP26 summit, which was originally due to take place 2020 but was pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic, will see world leaders come together to discuss plans to tackle the climate crisis.
Putin said that he almost contracted Covid-19 when he was in close contact with colleagues who were infected with the virus.
Putin said: “But [it’s] not about me, in fact when I go somewhere I’m accompanied by many people, over 100 people including press service, safeguards, drivers, protocol … many other things. It’s a big number of people that are somehow exposed.”
Russia hit a new record of daily deaths from Covid on Wednesday, with 984 fatalities from the virus reported. It also reported 28,717 new coronavirus infections, taking its total case count up to over 7.8 million and more than 219,000 deaths.
Russia formally joined the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change in 2019, which was first set out six years ago at the COP21 summit. Russia is aiming to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to 70% of its 1990 levels by 2030.
However, Russia is aiming to reach net zero emissions by 2060, unlike some countries which are hoping to reach this target by 2050.
Russia is the fourth-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, according to 2019 data from the European Commission’s Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research.