Russia set to ratify Kyoto

The Russian cabinet has approved the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on combating global warming.

    Putin has backed Kyoto to get EU support for Russia joining WTO

    Thursday's move cleared the way for

    parliament to vote on the international pact, which needs to be ratified by Moscow to take

    effect.

    The cabinet has to submit a draft bill on ratification of the protocol to

    the state Duma, the lower parliament, which approves

    nearly all bills backed by

    President Vladimir Putin.

    A government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the

    ratification bill would be submitted to parliament shortly so that the Duma

    could ratify it before the end of the year.

    Putin pledged in May to speed up approval of the protocol in return for

    European Union support of Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

    "It's a political decision, it's a forced decision" to ratify Kyoto,

    Putin's economic adviser Andrei Illarionov, who led Russian opponents of

    Kyoto, told the cabinet, Interfax news agency reported.

    Global warming

    "It's not 

    a decision we are making with pleasure."

    "It's a political decision, it's a forced decision [to ratify Kyoto]. It's not a decision we are making with pleasure"


    Andrei Illarionov,
    Putin's economic adviser

    The 1997 Kyoto Protocol seeks to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and

    other greenhouse gases, which are widely seen as a key factor behind global

    warming.

    The EU has long urged Russia to ratify the pact, which must be joined by

    no fewer than 55 countries that accounted for at least 55% of global

    emissions in 1990.

    That minimum now can be reached only with Russia because

    the US, China and some other big industrial nations have rejected

    the treaty.

    Illarionov and other Russian foes of the Kyoto protocol have argued that

    joining the pact would stymie Russia's economic growth and make Putin's goal

    of doubling gross domestic product in a decade unattainable.

    The protocol calls for countries to bring their emissions down to

    1990 levels by 2012.

    Industrial production

    If a country exceeds the emissions level, it could be

    forced to cut back industrial production.

    Russia's emissions have fallen by 32% since 1990 largely due

    to the post-Soviet industrial meltdown, but they have started to rise again

    amid the economic revival of the past few years.

    Greenhouse gas emissions in
    Russia have begun to rise again

    Illarionov continued his scathing attack on the pact on Thursday

    even though

    he acknowledged that Russia needed to ratify it for political reasons.

    "We

    mustn't cherish illusions about positive or neutral consequences" of the

    pact, he told the cabinet, according to Interfax.

    "This will concern each of

    our citizens."

    Some observers have speculated that Russia has wavered on the Kyoto

    ratification because it was jockeying for more favourable terms when rules are

    worked out.

    They say Russia wants a mechanism under which countries that come in with emission

    levels below the targets can sell credits to nations that still need to

    reduce emissions.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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