23 October 2004

Russia’s lower house of Parliament, Duma, endorsed the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by a vote of 334 to 74 on Friday. The next steps in the ratification process are consideration by the Russian Federation Council (upper house of Parliament), signing into law by President Vladimir Putin and depositing the formal instrument of ratification with the Secretary-General of the United Nations in New York. The Kyoto Protocol will enter into force 90 days after Russia’s instrument of ratification has been received.

The Parliament’s vote follows Putin’s government endorsement of the Kyoto Protocol last month, which concluded years of internal debate. It is widely expected that the approval by the upper house of Parliament, scheduled for Wednesday, will be a formality.

To enter into force, the Protocol must be ratified by at least 55 developed countries responsible for 55% of world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Currently, it is ratified by 126 countries representing 44.2% of emissions. Faced with the refusal of the USA (36.1% of emissions) to ratify, the pact could only be saved by Russia (17.4%). Other countries that refused to ratify include Australia (2.1%), Monaco (0%), and Liechtenstein (0%).

The Protocol, adopted at a 1997 UN conference in Kyoto, requires participating industrial countries to reduce emissions of six greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs and SF6) by an average of 5.2% below 1990 levels by 2012. Different emission reduction targets were adopted for different countries. For instance, the EU (15 countries) must reduce GHG emissions by 8% below the 1990 levels, USA (if ratified) would have a 7% reduction target, Canada must reduce emissions by 6%, Russia and Ukraine by 0% (i.e., must stabilize the 1990 levels through 2012).

GHG emissions in Russia have already decreased by about 25% due to the collapse of economy since 1990. Under the Kyoto Protocol emission trading provisions, Russia may earn billions of dollars by selling its excess quotas to countries which are out of compliance.

Kyoto Protocol is one of the factors responsible for the increasing population of diesel passenger cars in the EU. Increased dieselization of new car fleets, along with improvements in technology, has allowed to meet the CO2 emission reduction targets by EU car manufacturers.

In the press: Reuters | Washington Post

Source: UNFCCC