Russian Ratification of the Kyoto Protocol: Green Light for CO2 Cuts
Russia held the key to the Protocol - the world’s only international agreement to reduce CO2 emissions, the main greenhouse gas - after the U.S. pulled out of the agreement in 2001. 127 countries have now ratified the treaty which sets binding limits on emissions for industrialised countries.
"After two and a half years, Russia has finally seen the light and helped bring the Kyoto Protocol into reality," said Alexey Kokorin, head of the WWF-Russia climate change programme. "This is a clear indication that the Kyoto Protocol makes good sense for Russia on all levels - for business, for the environment and for the people."
The entry into force of the Protocol means that CO2 will now have a monetary value. Countries and companies, in the Kyoto system, will have to factor in this new cost when balancing their books, making a strong economic case for cleaner and more efficient forms of energy. Under the Kyoto Protocol, countries that exceed their targets will face binding consequences, thus creating the incentive to comply.
"Entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol is the biggest step forward in international environmental politics and law that the world has ever seen,” said Jennifer Morgan, Director of the WWF Climate Change programme.
Having declared the death of the Kyoto Protocol early on in its Administration and often thereafter, the U.S. government is now witnessing a true rebirth, and will be left standing on the sidelines as the rest of the world gets on with it.
"The enemies of Kyoto must be drowning their sorrows today,” said Jennifer Morgan, Director of the WWF Climate Change programme. “Russian ratification and entry into force demonstrates the political will, globally, to tackling this urgent and enormous problem. The challenge now is to ensure it is implemented and enforced.”
The Kyoto commitments must be implemented by 2012. Negotiations to determine further emissions cuts for the period thereafter are required, under the Kyoto Protocol, to start no later than 2005. In order to stay below the dangerous temperature rise of 2 degrees, future negotiations will have to ensure much deeper and faster cuts than are included in the first round of the Kyoto Protocol.