MOSCOW (AFP) Oct 07, 2004
President Vladimir Putin Thursday sent the Kyoto treaty for approval to Russia's parliament, moving the UN's global warming pact a step closer to implementation.
Putin sent the pact to the State Duma (lower house of parliament), the Kremlin press service told AFP, where ratification was all but assured as the main pro-Kremlin party holds a two-thirds majority.
"The examination of this question at the State Duma will not take a lot of time," Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov told reporters.
"There is a chance that it will examine Kyoto as soon as October and at the latest, by year's end," he said.
Russian ratification will mean that the UN global warming pact will be able to make the jump from a draft 1997 agreement into a working international treaty.
Last week the Russian cabinet decided to approve the treaty, after Moscow spent years hedging its bets, weighing its own economic policies against the broader diplomatic benefits of allying itself closer to Washington, which categorically opposes the pact, or Europe, the protocol's biggest fan.
Russia can make a short-term profit by ratifying the protocol since it will be able to sell some of its quotas for "greenhouse" gas emissions to other industrialized signatories.
Point Carbon, a Norway-based consultancy firm, has estimated that Russia could earn 10 billion dollars (eight billion euros) with the treaty's help by
Zhukov said Russia would likely approach its Kyoto quotas by 2010 if the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 9 to 10 percent a year.
Following the Russian cabinet's decision, the European Union called the Russian cabinet's decision a "huge success."
"We warmly welcome the decision," the European Commissions spokesman Reijo Kemppinen said.
The Greenpeace watchdog said the Russian cabinet decision highlighted the isolation of the administration of US President George W. Bush on environmental affairs.
"The Bush administration is out in the cold and the rest of the world can move forward as one to start tackling climate change," said Greenpeace climate campaigner Steve Sawyer after made the initial move last week.
Meanwhile Washington stood firm on its rejection of the pact.
"The United States' position on the Kyoto Protocol has not changed," spokesman Richard Boucher said. "We thought at this point it wasn't the right thing for the United States, but it's up to other nations to independently evaluate whether ratification is in their national interest."
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