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 on 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 bar of 55% can only be reached with the ratification of Russia.
Despite insistent calls, especially from the European Union, President Putin has blown hot and cold on his intentions in recent years, as the Russian leadership clashed with supporters and opponents of the agreement.
The European Commission immediately welcomed the Russian rally, saying it was "impatient" to work with Moscow on the subject.
The head of the climate file at the UN 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.
Note of econology: If Mr Bush is re-elected, we are not ready to see the USA ratify this protocol ...