Russia Might Ratify Kyoto Protocol, After All

Mark Twain once famously commented that rumors of his death had been greatly exaggerated. Much the same could be said of the Kyoto Protocol on global climate change, which was pronounced dead by gun-jumping news sources (Grist among them, we regret to say) when Andrei Illarionov, chief economic advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin, predicted that his country would not ratify it. Yesterday, however, the Russian government said it was still “moving toward ratification,” providing worried environmentalists with a measure of hope. The treaty cannot go into effect without the support of 55 countries that account for 55 percent of the developed world’s 1990 carbon dioxide emissions — an equation that, in the absence of U.S. support, requires Russian participation. But according to a news analysis in The New York Times, the treaty has the potential to permanently alter international energy policy whether or not it’s implemented.