President Chirac: Time to pressure Putin on Kyoto

Press release - 19 February, 2003
Chirac needs to pursuade the Russian President to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

The Kyoto Protocol is about cutting greenhouse gases. Wind power is one way of providing energy without greenhouse pollution.

WWF and Greenpeace today urged the French President Chirac and Prime Minister Raffarin to take a firm stance and exhaust all possible measures to ensure Russia's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.

In the past, France has taken credit for climate action through strong public statements on the Kyoto Protocol. This week, it is hosting the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Meeting in Paris, the annual gathering of the Panel. WWF and Greenpeace believe that high level officials at the meeting must make a firm commitment to pursue ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by Russia.

"France missed out on a prime opportunity when President Putin visited Paris last week," said Jennifer Morgan, Director of WWF's Climate Change Programme. "President Chirac must step up and ensure that his leadership on climate change is not doubted. The French government must engage now, to ensure that Russia ratifies the Kyoto Protocol."

Recently, Chancellor Schroeder and Prime Minister Blair wrote to President Putin urging his government to speed up the ratification process. Russia reacted positively, as plans to ratify Kyoto have moved forward according to Russia officials in recent press reports.

"What will Chirac's Kyoto legacy be," asked Steve Sawyer, Director of the Greenpeace climate change campaign. "It is now up to France to add its weight to the European push to get Russia to ratify the Kyoto Protocol." Greenpeace and WWF recently sent a letter to President Chirac asking him to write to President Putin and urge ratification.

Making the Kyoto Protocol international law is an essential first step in the effort to curb climate change. It is the world's only agreement for limiting global warming pollution. It is also the basis for increasingly effective global action against climate change in the coming decades. Only Russia is needed for the Kyoto Protocol to become international law