Hot air

Feature story - 2 December, 2003
Diplomats from world governments are currently meeting for the latest round of negotiations on controlling climate change. The biggest news so far was a statement seeming to rule out Russia from attempts to control climate change. However it is likely the statement by a Russian economic advisor against the Kyoto Protocol on climate change was nothing more than pre-election bluster, ahead of the upcoming Moscow's Duma election. The advisor has a history of bold statements that are later contradicted by official policy.

Walrus on ice floe; Greenpeace tour investigating climate change effects, Chukchi Sea, Alaska.

A Russian economic advisor to President Putin, Andrei Illarionov, had stated today that he believed Russia would not ratify the Kyoto Protocol in its present form, because it placed "significant limitations on the economic growth of Russia".

Alexey Kokorin, the head of WWF's Climate Change program in Russia, said that Illarionov's statement is of a pre-election political manoeuvring and did not hold any weight as to what Russia would actually do.

"Illarionov does not speak for the President or the Russian Government," said Kokorin. "This is just the latest statement in a long line of predictions by Illarionov which have failed to eventuate. He opposed the Russian energy strategy which was then adopted in May 2003, and he poured cold water on the economic plan for GDP growth, which was also later adopted."

"While Illarionov's opinion will sound like music to the ears of the US administration, it's far too early to be reading the funeral notice of the Kyoto Protocol," said Steven Guilbeault, our Climate Campaigner.

"The person who speaks for Russia is Vladimir Putin and not some bureaucrat. President Putin has made numerous statements in the past few months, reaffirming Russia would ratify."