Russia's top scientists tell Putin to kill Kyoto
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
MOSCOW — The Kyoto Protocol to limit greenhouse gases has no scientific basis and puts the Russian economy at risk, Russia's leading scientists said in official advice to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In the document, obtained by Reuters Monday, the Russian Academy of Sciences said the global treaty would not stabilize greenhouse gases even if it came into force.
The academy drew up the summary after a request from Putin, who has the power to kill off the treaty worldwide by refusing to pass it to parliament for ratification. Some diplomats hope for a decision on the matter by the end of the week.
"The Kyoto Protocol has no scientific foundation," said the first of the academy's conclusions, adopted in a closed session last Friday.
Debate has intensified over the treaty, which aims to slow global warming, in advance of a self-imposed May 20 deadline for state bodies to give Putin their advice.
One Putin aide attacked the treaty as an "international Aushwitz" that will strangle Russia's recovering economy. Key economic ministries and top companies back it, saying it bears no threat to the Russian economy.
But the academy said it would endanger Putin's goal of doubling the size of Russian economy in a decade. "For the intended doubling of GDP in 10 years it is necessary to admit the existence of serious risks in the framework of the Kyoto Protocol, even in its first phase."
The treaty obliges countries to limit emissions of gases that cause global warming. It comes into force if developed countries responsible for 55 percent of emissions ratify it. Since top polluter Washington has pulled out, Russia's 17 percent quota leaves it with the casting vote.
International observers believe approval would be risk-free for Moscow since the post-Soviet economic collapse slashed national emissions by at least one-quarter. That leaves Russia with spare capacity that it could trade with over-polluters.
Russia has vacillated over whether to agree to voluntarily limiting its emissions, and the academy said there would be no point since the treaty would not halt global warming anyway.
"The Kyoto Protocol is ineffective for fulfilling the aims of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, which it was created to fulfil," the scientists said.
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