October 28, 2004 in Nation/World

Kyoto Protocol heads to Putin

Associated Press

MOSCOW – The Kyoto Protocol overcame its final legislative hurdle in Russia when the upper house of parliament ratified the global climate pact Wednesday and sent it on to President Vladimir Putin for his signature – setting the stage for the treaty to come into force next year.

Putin’s stamp of approval is considered a formality, but the Kremlin hasn’t said when he will sign the pact, which seeks to slow global warming by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

Russia’s adoption is the final step needed among major industrial countries after the treaty was rejected by the United States, which alone accounted for 36 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in 1990.

The protocol ratification by 55 industrialized nations accounting for at least 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions in 1990. The pact will apply only to nations that ratify it.

The U.S. government says the pact would harm the U.S. economy and also argues it favors developing nations like China and India that are big polluters.

“For us, ratification is of crucial importance, since the protocol will take effect only after Russia ratifies it,” Mikhail Margelov, who heads the Federation Council’s foreign affairs committee, was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. “Ratification will again demonstrate to the world community our consistency and predictability in tackling global problems.”

The council voted 139-1 with one abstention, ratifying the pact just four days after the lower house also overwhelmingly approved the treaty. After Putin’s signature, the Kremlin must notify the United Nations of its ratification, and the pact will take effect 90 days later.

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