coal fired plant
The Russian government gave the green light to the Kyoto Protocol today. The UN protocol is the first global response to tackling global warming by setting targets for greenhouse gas emissions and has been dependent on Russian ratification since the US pulled out.
This is the first step for Russia. The final decision on whether Russia will ratify the treaty now rests with the lower house, the Duma, which traditionally supports Putin.
The Protocol can not come into effect until countries responsible for 55% of greenhouse gas emissions have ratified the treaty. Currently the protocol has the support of 44% of the producers, with Russian ratification, the Kyoto Protocol will enter into force and become international law within three months.
The Kyoto Protocol is an important first step but we still have a long way to go. To tackle climate change we must stop relying on oil, coal and gas to meet our energy needs and urgently redirect our investment into safer, clean sources of energy such as wind, wave and solar power. We must also use our energy more efficiently.
Under the Kyoto Protocol industralised countries, responsible for 55% of emissions, are required to cut emissions of six greenhouse gases by just over five per cent for the period 2008-2012. The largest contributor is carbon dioxide, emitted when coal, oil and gas are burned.
The United States emits one fifth of the world's greenhouse gases, yet the Bush administration has refused to support efforts to combat climate change. Unless the United States ratifies the Kyoto Protocol, the targets will not be fully achieved.
As the Earth is battered by increasing storms, floods and droughts, President Putin has brought us to a pivotal point in human history today. We are now on the brink of securing the Kyoto Protocol. The Bush administration is out in the cold and the rest of the world's governments can move forward as one to start tackling climate change, the greatest threat to civilisation the world has ever seen.