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Russia May Ratify Kyoto Protocol Before End of Year

Russia may ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the pact aimed to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, before the end of the year, the country's Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov told a press conference on Thursday.  

The Russian cabinet last Thursday approved the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, which has been sent to the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, for endorsement.


Zhukov said the Duma might start to mull the issue in October and it would not take too long before the final result.


He said the treaty would not become an obstacle to Russia's goal to double its gross domestic product (GDP) by the year 2010. On the contrary, the pact would push for the promotion of energy-saving techniques and make the increase sustainable, he added.


According to the Kyoto Protocol, Russia must strive to retain the emission of greenhouse gases before 2012 at the level of 1990.As the country's economy declined after 1990, greenhouse gases emission has decreased by 32 percent as compared with the year 1990.


However, many economists insisted that joining the pact would baffle Russia's economic growth and make President Vladimir Putin's goal of doubling GDP in a decade unattainable.


Russian presidential economic aide Andrei Illarionov said last Thursday at a cabinet session that the ratification would entail serious negative consequences for Russia both in the short term and in the long run.


Illarionov, an outspoken critic of the Kyoto Protocol, warned that the ratification may lead to the loss of US$1 trillion for the country's GDP by 2012, calling for measures to minimize the negative consequences.


Yuri Izrael, director of the Institute of Climate Change and Environment, and Gennady Mesyats, vice president of the Russian Academy of Science, believed that there were no scientific justifications to approve the treaty.


Signed by 159 countries in the Japanese city of Kyoto in 1997, the pact obliges industrialized signatory countries to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, the carbon-based pollution that is a by-product of burning fossil fuels and is blamed for driving climate change, by 2008-2012 as compared with their 1990 levels.


The protocol suffered a crippling blow in March 2001 when the United States walked away, stripping the Protocol of the world's biggest polluter and carbon-market player.


Under a complex weighing system, the treaty cannot come into force until Russia, responsible for 17 percent of the world's dioxide emissions, ratifies the deal.


Duma's ratification is essential for pushing the number of industrialized signatories over a key threshold that will turn the draft deal into an international treaty.


(Xinhua News Agency October 8, 2004)

Russia to Ratify Kyoto Protocol
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