Russian Government gives green light to climate change treaty

Feature story - September 30, 2004
Greenpeace welcomed the news that the Russian Government has given the green light to the climate change treaty, the Kyoto Protocol today (1).

The final decision on whether Russia will ratify the treaty now rests with the Duma. If it votes in favour, the Kyoto Protocol will enter into force and become international law (2).

"As the Earth is battered by increasing storms, floods and droughts, President Putin has brought us to a pivotal point in human history. We are now on the brink of securing the Kyoto Protocol. The Bush Administration is out in the cold and the rest of the world can move forward as one to start tackling climate change, the greatest threat to civilisation the world has ever seen," said Greenpeace International climate campaigner, Steve Sawyer.

The United States of America emits one fifth of the world's greenhouse gases, yet the Bush Administration has refused to support efforts to combat climate change. Unless the United States ratifies the Kyoto Protocol, the targets will not be fully achieved. The largest contributor to greenhouse gases is carbon dioxide, emitted when coal, oil and gas are burned.

"The Kyoto Protocol is an important first step but we've still a long way to go. To tackle climate change we must stop relying on oil, coal and gas to meet our energy needs and urgently redirect our investment into safer, clean sources of energy such as wind, wave and solar power. We must also use our energy more efficiently," concluded Sawyer.

Notes to Editors:

(1) The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the first global response to tackling global warming. As of July 29th2004, the treaty had been ratified by 124 countries.Under the Kyoto Protocol, industralised countries, responsible for 55 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, are bound to cut emissions of a basket of six greenhouse gases by just over 5% for the period 2008-2012.

(2) If the Russian Duma votes in favour of the Kyoto Protocol, Russia will then submit an instrument of ratification the United Nations in New York. Ninety days after the submission, the Kyoto Protocol will become international law.