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Putin’s 12-Year Flip-Flop On Climate Change And Other Significant Digits From Paris

Throughout the duration of the Paris climate talks, we’re bringing you dispatches of the best climate work and data points from around the Web.

12 years

Back in 2003, Russian President Vladimir Putin told a climate conference in Moscow that global warming wouldn’t be such a terrible thing in cold countries like his. “We could spend less on fur coats, and the grain harvest would go up,” he said. Twelve years later, Putin has apparently changed his mind, telling his fellow world leaders on Monday that “climate change has become one of the gravest challenges humanity is facing.” [New York Times]

21 Peruvian Indians

This week, 21 Peruvian Indians are attending the Paris climate talks dressed in traditional attire to represent the indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon. “What we want the most is for people in the city to respect the jungle — to know that the jungle is here and that people are living here,” one of these attendees, Miguel Samaniego Arroyo, told The New York Times. “The Amazon is a living being, not just resources.” [New York Times]

300,000 tons of CO2

Air travel is one of the most energy and emissions-intensive activities possible, and attendees of this week’s Paris climate negotiations have traveled long distances, many of them by plane. According to some back-of-the-napkin figures calculated by Nick Stockton at Wired, the Paris climate talks will generate 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide (Stockton says that’s about 22 seconds of global CO2 emissions.) The conference has promised to release its own figures and has taken steps to reduce the meeting’s carbon footprint. (One of those steps: welcome bags made with recycled clothing.) The French government, for its part, plans to offset all emissions produced by the travel of registered participants, conference facilities and local operations. [Wired]

2 billion euros

On Tuesday, French President François Hollande announced that his country would invest 2 billion euros in renewable energy in Africa between 2016 and 2020. The money will fund solar, wind, hydroelectric and geothermal power projects as part of a renewable energy initiative led by the African Union. The program is part of an effort to help poorer countries (many of which are disproportionately harmed by climate change) develop clean energy and adapt to the changing climate. [U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change]

$3.4 trillion

On Wednesday, the activist groups and Divest-Invest announced that the number of institutions that have pledged to reduce or eliminate holdings in fossil fuels had hit 500. Those institutions, which include the London School of Economics and the insurance giant Allianz, represent more than $3.4 trillion in assets. Some of the commitments, though, are only partial divestments, and it’s not clear how much money will actually be divested. But the activists point to the number as evidence that investors are turning away from fossil fuels. Environmentalists pushing for divestment hope that removing investments in fossil fuels will make them less economically viable. []

Christie Aschwanden is FiveThirtyEight’s lead writer for science.