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Author`s name Ольга Савка

Russia To Ratify Kyoto Protocol

US Department of State: The level of consumer prices and investments in the energy field is more important that ecology

It deems that President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov promised in summer, during the Earth Summit in Johannesburg, that Russia was about to sign the Kyoto protocol that limited the level of industrial discharge in the atmosphere of the planet. The world community applauded to that, the summit delegates went home, but Russia did not sign the protocol anyway. However, as Alexander Bedritsky, the chairman of the Russian Hydrometeorology Center said, Russia was about to ratify the Kyoto protocol in order to restrict and reduce the level of greenhouse effect gases emitted in the atmosphere.

The Kyoto protocol, which was passed by industrially developed countries in 1997, represents an international agreement between Europe, Japan and Canada. This documents obliges the countries to restrict and reduce the level of environmental pollution. The United States thought about it for a while and refused to sign the document. Virtually, the Kyoto protocol has not come into its legal effect. Then, the whole ecologically advanced humanity hoped for Russia. However,  Russia was too preoccupied with economic reforms, the industry of the former USSR stopped working. The ecology has improved after that, although Kyoto issues did not seem to be attractive for the first group of Russian reformers. Things have changed since then. As the head of the Russian Hydrometeorology Center, Alexander Bedritsky, told reporters at a press conference, the Russian government had already made up a list of things to do in order to complete the documents for the ratification of the Kyoto protocol. Bedritsky stated that governmental experts did not find any restrictions or prohibitions for any kinds of industrial activity in the protocol. He said that it was up to every country to choose, how it was going to reduce and restrict the emission of industrial gases in the atmosphere. Furthermore, Russia has a status of a developing country in the Kyoto protocol. This allows Russia not to restrict any emission level at all. The Russian industry currently emits a lot less gases, than it is supposed to. Pursuant to Kyoto protocol terms, Russia is supposed to stabilize the level of emission as of the year 1990. Alexander Bedritsky added that Kyoto restrictions were not going to bother Russia for a long time because of that.

Mr.Bedritsky’s confidence is explained with a pragmatic calculation that was made by Russian economists. They believe that Russia is going to remain an industrially weak country for long. According to experts’ estimates, Russia is not going to achieve the USSR’s development level of 1990 soon. The experts of the Russian Ministry for Economic Development and Trade calculated that the preservation of the current speed of the economic development will keep the industrial emission on the level of 80% in comparison with the one in 1990. As it seems, the government was happy to learn about that. The country’s budget does not stipulate any money for the development and implementation of environmental programs. In addition to that, it is extremely hard to make Russian oligarchs buy and install those technologies. That is, probably, why Mr. Bedritsky was so optimistic and kindhearted regarding ecological problems of the Kyoto protocol: “The Kyoto protocol is an attempt to set up a tool for the solution of global problems of the humanity,” Bedritsky said. He added that the execution of the protocol’s obligations would not bring damage to Russia.

Bedritsky’s American colleague, Harlan Watson, senior US climate negotiator and a leading US State Department member, said that signing the Kyoto protocol would bring a considerable economic damage to the United States. Harlan Watson believes that the USA would lose energetic equipment investments, if it agreed to sign the protocol. In addition to that, this would raise the level of consumer prices in the country too. This situation is totally not good for the American government, since the USA experiences a lack of investments already. It is worth mentioning that Mr. Watson does not deny the fact that his country is the world’s leader, when it comes to the environmental pollution – 22-23% of the global volume of industrial gases. However, the USA promised the UN that it would cut its emission by 18% during the coming ten years.

Akhtyam Akhtyrov

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov