Happy Birthday Mr Putin

It's now time to deliver on your Kyoto promise

Feature story - October 7, 2003
Greenpeace activists delivered a cake to the Russian embassy today with a message asking Russian President Vladimir Putin to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on the occasion of his 51st birthday. Since the Bush Administration decided to pull out of the agreement in 2001, Russian ratification is necessary for the 1997 Protocol to enter into force.

On this day, President Putin will be meeting with German Chancellor Schroeder in Moscow. Schroeder is expected to deliver a message from the G-8 countries that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol pushing for Russian ratification.

Last month, Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) sent a letter to Chancellor Schroeder, as well as leaders from Japan, Canada, the UK, Italy and France, asking for their assistance in getting Russia to ratify the protocol.

During the 2002 Earth Summit, Russian Prime Minister Kasyanov said that Russia would ratify 'soon'; this was later confirmed by President Putin. However, since then, the Russian ratification process has been mired in the intricacies of its political system.

"Climate change is becoming a reality in many parts of the globe and Russia is no exception (1). The severe impacts of climate is already causing floods in Southeast Asia and heat waves in Europe. We must all address this issue with a sense of urgency," said Jiragorn Gajaseni, Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Note to editors:

1) Permafrost, which covers approximately 2/3 of the Russian territory, is showing signs of melting. This will damage forests, pipelines, buildings and other infrastructure. Productivity in the agriculture sector could be reduced between 10 and 40%. Infectious diseases like West Nile Virus and Dengue Fever are likely to affect more and more Russians in the decades to come. Greenpeace.