While most world leaders still deny climate change, Russia is taking an unprecedented step for the New Year. Moscow will see artificial snow on the streets to help bring in 2020. On top of this, at least one world leader does accept climate change as a possibility.

Vladimir Putin and global climate change

President Vladimir Putin receives a lot of criticism for his policies, but at least he does acknowledge climate change could cause big problems for Russia. He spoke about this on December 19 at his annual news conference, saying temperatures in Russia average out at more than double the normal global average.

On this point, the temperature in Moscow reached 5.6 degrees Celsius (42 degrees Fahrenheit) on December 18, making for a record.

Putin pointed out that Russia has whole towns within the Arctic Circle that have been built on permafrost. He went on to say that as the permafrost starts to melt the consequences could be “very serious.” He did, however, admit that calculating the effect of modern humanity on the influence of global climate change would be very difficult.

Russia’s capital under artificial snow

The Independent reports that it thought to have been the warmest December in Moscow since 1886. Many locals have been complaining that the lack of snow makes for a lack of festivity over the holiday period, while the snow that has fallen has quickly turned gray or melted.

The snow had been dumped in a number of sites in the city, including Red Square, with a number of sites closed to traffic for tonight’s celebrations. Artificial snow has also been dumped on Tverskaya to allow a snowboarding hill for locals to enjoy in the run-up to the New Year.

If you are wondering where they got all that snow, it was created by breaking up the ice at a number of the skating rinks in the city. This was particularly so at VDNKh, a Soviet-era entertainment complex in Moscow.

Meanwhile, as noted by the BBC, there has been a lot of humor doing the rounds on social media about the fact that authorities in Moscow have used a dumper truck to deliver snow to the city’s streets.

One tweet by @WildWildMoscow, with a video showing the dumper truck in action, joked that you can buy anything with Moscow’s budget, even winter.

However, Murphy’s Law did prevail, with Moscow draped in a light dusting of snow on Monday afternoon and a forecast for more to come later in the week.

Russia’s warmest year on record

Roman Vilfand is in charge of the weather forecasting agency in Russia and has stated this year was the warmest year in recorded history in the country.

There has been evidence of global warming during the mild winter, including record-breaking ice melt in Russia’s polar regions.

In the meantime, rhododendrons and snowdrops have been blooming early in Moscow’s gardens and some animals at the zoo have been so confused by the warmth, they have ended their hibernation early, believing it is spring.