NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Russian President Says "Nyet" to Kyoto Treaty

October 28, 2003

Apparently the Kyoto climate control treaty doesn't impress Russian president Vladimir Putin. At the World Climate Change Conference in Moscow earlier this month, Putin was expected to announce his government's intention to ratify the treaty. Instead, he delivered an emperor-has-no-clothes speech that stunned the audience -- and changed the global warming debate, says the Wall Street Journal.

At the conference:

  • He acknowledged that Russia would get an initial boost from the treaty as it sold spare quotas for carbon dioxide emissions, but having promised to double the size of the Russian economy in 10 years, he went on to say that Kyoto would soon become an economic albatross.
  • He said he has learned that we simply don't know why temperatures are rising, how recent trends relate to long-term temperature variations and, above all, whether or not changing human behavior would matter to any of this.
  • He noted that it would hardly be a tragedy if Siberia warmed a couple of degrees or if Russians had to "spend less money on fur coats."
  • He said that warming temperatures would probably help Russia's agricultural output.

At this point Russia holds an effective veto over Kyoto. The treaty requires countries representing 55 percent of emissions to sign up before it takes effect, and so far nations amounting to 44 percent have ratified. If Russia doesn't ratify with its 17 percent emissions share, Kyoto will be deader than those earlier theories about the looming global ice age, says the Journal.

Source: Editorial, "Cool on Warming," Wall Street Journal, October 28, 2003.

For text (WSJ subscription required),,SB106729990546024500,00.html


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