Russia Rejects Kyoto Protocol, Likely Killing Climate Change Treaty

The Kyoto Protocol on climate change received a presumably fatal blow today, when Russia announced that it will not ratify the agreement in its current form. Without Russia or the U.S. on board, the treaty will not have buy-in from at least 55 countries that account for 55 percent of the developed world’s 1990 carbon dioxide emissions — the only terms under which it can take effect. “In its current form, the Kyoto Protocol places significant limitations on the economic growth of Russia,” said Russian economic advisor Andrei Illarionov as he explained the country’s decision, but many experts disagree that the treaty would hurt Russia’s economy. Today’s news is a serious blow to climate negotiators convening this week in Milan, Italy, to discuss Kyoto’s future. Some hold out hope that Russia will change its mind, but others acknowledge that the treaty will have to be renegotiated or nations that have signed it will have to go it alone.

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[Correction: As it turned out, news reports of Russia rejecting the Kyoto Protocol on Dec. 2, 2003, were inaccurate. As of Dec. 5, Russia was said to be moving toward ratification.]

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