President Putin, the planet needs Kyoto

Press release - 29 September, 2003
Greenpeace today highlighted Russian president Vladimir Putin's missed opportunity to make history by not announcing when Russia will ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Putin was addressing participants in the 2003 World Climate Change Conference held in Moscow this week.

Banner in Russian and English demands Putin ratify Kyoto Treaty

In the face of mounting evidence regarding the impacts of climate change on the planet, the silence of President Putin on Russian ratification puts the world at further risk, contends Greenpeace.

"President Putin has had more than 3 years to analyse how Kyoto could be implemented in Russia, and his stalling could now derail the entire process," said Steven Guilbeault of Greenpeace. "Russia can play a leading role in helping solve the problem of climate change or it can choose to side with George Bush."

Since the Bush Administration decided to pull out of the agreement in 2001, only with Russian ratification can the 1997 Protocol enter into force.

During the 2002 Earth Summit, Russian Prime Minister Kasyanov said that Russia would ratify "soon", a commitment that was later confirmed by President Putin. However, since then, the Russian ratification process has been mired in the intricacies of Russian politics with anti-Kyoto forces like Economic Development and Trade Minister Gref having a field day in the face of Putin's hesitation to ratify the agreement.

"All is ready for Russian ratification," Guilbeault added. "An additional amendment for the Russian legislation process has already been agreed this September by an inter-ministerial group headed by Vice-Prime Minister Khrastenko. Everything is in President Putin's hands. He has a political, economic and environmental responsibility not just to Russia, but to the world," he concluded.