Russia, after procrastinating for a long time, officially joined the Kyoto Protocol today
The Russian government has approved the draft law on ratification and will transmit it to the Duma, the Chamber of Deputies, for final agreement.
This green light from Moscow should eventually allow the entry into force of the international agreement concluded in 1997, relating to the reduction of greenhouse gases.
As the Duma is dominated by the pro-Kremlin United Russia party by a very large majority, Russian ratification should not pose a major problem.
The Kyoto Protocol must, to enter into force, be ratified by at least 55 countries representing 55% of the CO2 emissions of the industrialized countries.
The United States having decided in 2001 to reject it, the 55% mark can only be reached with the ratification of Russia.
Despite insistent calls, notably from the European Union, President Putin has blown hot and cold over his intentions in recent years, while within the Russian leadership clashed with supporters and opponents of the agreement.
The European Commission immediately hailed the Russian rally, saying it was "looking forward" to working with Moscow on the issue.
The head of the climate file at the United Nations estimated that President Putin had thus "shown his sense of the State and sent an encouraging signal to the international community".
Russian ratification should facilitate Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization, a priority for Vladimir Putin.
Ecology note: If Mr. Bush is re-elected, we are not ready to see the USA ratify this protocol…