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Brussels, 22 October 2004

Climate Change: Russian Parliament clears the way for the Kyoto Protocol

The European Commission welcomes today's vote by the Russian State Duma in favour of ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. Once in force, it will legally oblige countries with binding targets to reduce greenhouse gases to reach these targets by 2012. The Kyoto protocol is the main instrument for the global fight against climate change and a good example of the effectiveness of global cooperation. Russia’s ratification will inject new momentum to the protocol. Leading by example, the EU has passed legislation that has already made all its provisions legally binding in the EU. The entry into force of Kyoto shows that the EU was right to follow this line.

The President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, said: "We are happy that the Russian Duma has decided to ratify. I would also like to thank President Putin for his personal support for this process. We hope that the United States will now re-consider its position. Latest scientific evidence suggests that global climate change may be happening more rapidly that has been previously known. The Kyoto Protocol may not be perfect but it is the only effective tool that is available to the international community. The United States should not abstain from the one fight that is crucial for the future of mankind.”

Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström joined President Prodi in welcoming the Russian decision: "This shows that the political leadership starts recognising the challenge of climate change. The EU has led the way in this work. We are now happy to have Russia on board and we can now put words into deeds. The EU is ready to do so and has adopted all the right policies to meet its targets."

Benefits for the global fight against climate change

Kyoto's entry into force will provide certainty to European investors and the emerging global emissions trading markets linked to several market-based instruments envisaged by the Protocol. These instruments will allow the parties with reduction targets to meet their commitments cost-effectively.

The Protocol's entry-into-force also provides a legal base for international negotiations to start next year on a post-2012 climate change regime. While the reductions envisaged in the Protocol are only a modest first step, the implementation of the Protocol is vital for the industrialised countries to take leadership in the fight against climate change. Climate change is a global problem than can only be resolved by all those countries that are contributing significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions.

Benefits for Russia

Russia’s greenhouse gas emissions are currently some 30% below 1990 levels. The Kyoto Protocol requires that Russia do not exceed the 1990 levels during 2008-2012. This means that, once international emissions trading starts, Russia will have a significant surplus of emission quotas that it can sell to other countries that have ratified the Protocol.

In addition, Russia will gain from the project-based mechanism known as Joint Implementation which allows Parties with targets to carry out emission reduction projects in other countries with targets and count the achieved reductions against their own targets. Joint Implementation projects can help Russia improve its energy efficiency and thus its competitiveness. Several EU Member States have already expressed strong interest in investing in such projects in Russia.

Further information on EU climate change policy:

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