U.S. intelligence agencies' analysis of Russian meddling was noticeably silent about climate change

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      Americans are still absorbing the declassified U.S. intelligence community assessment of Russia's pre-election activities.

      Among the claims by the National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, and Federal Bureau of Investigation are:

      * "Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election."

      * "Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments."

      * "The Kremlin's principal international propaganda outlet RT (formerly Russia Today) has actively collaborated with WikiLeaks. RT's editor-in-chief visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in August 2013, where they discussed renewing his broadcast contract with RT, according to Russian and Western media."

      * "Starting in March 2016, Russian Government-linked actors began openly supporting President-elect Trump's candidacy in media aimed at English-speaking audiences. RT and Sputnik—another government-funded outlet producing pro-Kremlin radio and online content in a variety of languages for international audiences—consistently cast President-elect Trump as the target of unfair coverage from traditional US media outlets that they claimed were subservient to a corrupt political establishment."

      Russia's tactics included retaining "paid social media users or 'trolls'."

      "An assessment of attribution usually is not a simple statement of who conducted an operation, but rather a series of judgments that describe whether it was an isolated incident, who was the likely perpetrator, that perpetrator's possible motivations, and whether a foreign government had a role in ordering or leading the operation," the report states.

      The NSA, CIA, and FBI "did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election", the report adds.

      "We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes."

      The report later adds that "Russia has sought to influence elections across Europe."

      Justin Trudeau has called for action on climate change, but his government has still given conditional approval to two pipelines and a liquefied natural gas terminal.

      Should Canadians be concerned?

      Shortly after the Liberals won a majority in the October 2015 election, RT published a laudatory article about incoming prime minister Justin Trudeau.

      It came months after his predecessor, Stephen Harper, publicly declared that Russia couldn't rejoin the G-7 as long as Putin remained in power.

      Prior to the election, the Liberals, Conservatives, and New Democrats all adopted a hard line against Putin's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

      Vice correspondent Justin Ling wrote an intriguing article in 2015 looking at how the two pro-Kremlin media outlets, RT and Sputnik, covered the Canadian election.

      He paid particular attention to a Sputnik article following one of the leaders' debates.

      It noted that when Justin Trudeau's father was prime minister, he "actually sought to mend relations with the Soviet Union, and to break out of the East vs. West mentality".

      Harper and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, on the other hand, were accused of "Russia-bashing".

      Ling reported in 2015 that Russian media outlets denigrated the state of Canadian democracy during the federal campaign.

      This parallels the U.S. intelligence agencies' analysis of how these pro-Kremlin media outlets covered the U.S. presidential election.

      But so far, no evidence has been unearthed at Kremlin-financed trolls tried to influence the Canadian election.

      Since being elected, Trudeau has approved two pipelines and one LNG export terminal. He's also spoken positively in the past about the Keystone XL pipeline proposal, which Trump plans to revive.

      Donald Trump has promised to cancel the Paris climate agreement.

      Climate change not mentioned in U.S. report

      The U.S. intelligence agencies suggest that Putin was motivated by U.S. efforts to discredit Russian athletes and by his dislike of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

      "Putin most likely wanted to discredit Secretary Clinton because he has publicly blamed her since 2011 for inciting mass protests against his regime in late 2011 and early 2012, and because he holds a grudge for comments he almost certainly saw as disparaging him," the report states.

      It also highlights RT's ongoing critical coverage of hydraulic fracturing, a.k.a. fracking, for fossil fuels.

      "RT runs anti-fracking programming, highlighting environmental issues and the impacts on public health," it notes. "This is likely reflective of the Russian Government's concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom's profitability (5 October)."

      Gazprom is a Russian state-owned energy company.

      Curiously, there's no mention in the U.S. intelligence agencies' report of climate change.

      This is true even though Russia's economy is highly dependent on continued extraction of fossil fuels. And Putin has dragged his heels on ratifying the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord.

      The Russian Federation produces more than 7.5 percent of the world's annual greenhouse gas emissions. It's the largest emitter among those who have still not ratified the treaty. 

      During the U.S. presidential campaign, the Democratic Party pledged to take action on climate change.

      Trump, on the other hand, promised to cut off funding for United Nations' efforts to address the issue. Trump also said he would cancel the Paris climate agreement.

      In addition, Trump has appointed an energy secretary and head of the Environmental Protection Agency who are both extremely critical of the Obama administration's responses to climate change.

      Moreover, Trump's nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, is chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, which is the world's largest publicly traded fossil-fuel company.

      All of this suggests that Trump and Putin may see eye to eye on climate change. And it raises questions if both of them have a shared interest in defeating parties in other countries that pledge to take aggressive action against greenhouse gas emissions. 

      But if Putin and Trump can't do anything to lift the price of oil, that's still not going to help the Russian economy or ExxonMobil's bottom line.