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Russia ratifies with Kyoto Protocol PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Friday, 22 October 2004 01:27
Russia ratifies with Kyoto Protocol

From Reuters, "Russia's Duma ratified the Kyoto Protocol o­n Friday, clearing the way for the long-delayed climate change pact to come into force worldwide." Now it is time for Canada to 'put up or shut up'.  The minority federal government  should provide an interesting forum for pushing the issue. -- Space & Technology Editor

Russia Duma Ratifies Kyoto Environment Pact

Fri Oct 22, 2004 11:09 AM ET

By Oleg Shchedrov
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Duma ratified the Kyoto Protocol o­n Friday, clearing the way for the long-delayed climate change pact to come into force worldwide.

The State Duma's ratification pushes the 126-nation U.N. accord, aimed at battling global warming, over the threshold of 55 percent of developed nations' greenhouse gas emissions needed to make it internationally binding after a U.S. pullout in 2001.

"We'll toast the Duma with vodka tonight," Greenpeace climate policy adviser Steve Sawyer said. The bill was passed in the lower house of parliament by 334 votes in favor, with 73 against and two abstentions.

Kyoto will go into force 90 days after it passes the upper house and is signed by its key advocate, President Vladimir Putin. These steps are seen as formalities after Friday's vote in the Duma, controlled by pro-Kremlin parties.

"The entry into force of Kyoto is the biggest step forward in environmental politics and law we have ever seen," said Jennifer Morgan, director of the WWF conservation group's climate change program.

Klaus Toepfer, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), said the decision was a milestone that "will concentrate the efforts of governments, business and industry o­n meeting the Kyoto targets and concentrate efforts o­n how we can deliver the even deeper cuts."

"The goal of stabilizing the climate and securing the stability of the planet is however a long way off," he said.

Kyoto obliges rich nations to cut overall emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12 by curbing use of coal, oil and natural gas and shifting to cleaner energies like solar or wind power.


Rising global temperatures have been linked to extreme weather including droughts, flooding and rising sea levels, which some see as possible sparks for regional conflicts.

Moscow signed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol in 1999. But it signaled it would ratify it o­nly this year in exchange for EU agreement o­n the terms of Moscow's admission to the World Trade Organization.

Russia, which accounts for 17 percent of greenhouse gas emissions by developed nations, became the key to Kyoto after the United States pulled out in 2001, saying it was too expensive and wrongly excluded developing nations.

Critics say it will cost trillions of dollars and have scant impact unless countries like China or India get involved.

"There are far more important problems to address like HIV, malaria, malnutrition and ways to improve free trade," said Bjorn Lomborg, the Danish author of "The Skeptical Environmentalist" who reckons Kyoto is money badly spent.

With Russia, Kyoto will represent 61 percent of developed nations' emissions against a current 44 percent. The U.S. share is 36 percent.

Proponents say that apart from improving the environment, Kyoto would also force Russia to upgrade its industry.

They also say Russia, whose smokestack industries have cut emissions by about 38 percent since the collapse of the Soviet Union, could earn billions of dollars by selling excess quotas for gas emissions to polluters abroad.

Volumes in EU markets for carbon allowances have surged since Russia signaled it would ratify last month. Prices have been relatively stable around 8.90 euros ($10.86-11.24) a ton of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Opponents insist new emission limits could constrain Russia's economic growth and undermine Putin's plan to double gross domestic product in 10 years. (Additional reporting by Alister Doyle in Oslo)


? Copyright Reuters 2004. 

Last Updated on Friday, 22 October 2004 01:27

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