Russian Ratification Brings Kyoto Protocol Into Effect

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law last week to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which will soon bring the international agreement into effect. The Protocol contains legally binding greenhouse gas emissions targets for 36 industrialized countries, requiring them to reduce their collective emissions of six key greenhouse gases by at least 5 percent by 2012, compared to 1990 levels.

According to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the final step in the ratification process will be the deposit of the formal instrument of ratification with the Secretary-General of the United Nations in New York, an event expected to occur in the coming weeks. The Kyoto Protocol will enter into force 90 days after that. Although the United States is not participating in the Kyoto Protocol, the agreement is expected to result in an international emissions-trading system among developed countries and will encourage those countries to finance sustainable energy projects in developing countries. Russia’s ratification came just before Monday’s release of the Arctic Climate Impact Report, a four-year scientific assessment commissioned by the International Arctic Science Committee and the Arctic Council. The Arctic Council is a ministerial intergovernmental forum comprised of the eight nations that ring the Arctic, including the United States and Russia, plus six organizations representing the indigenous Arctic tribes. The study finds that the Arctic is warming at nearly twice the rate of the rest of the globe, causing the impacts of global warming to be in greater evidence there.
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