Statement by Klaus Toepfer, UNEP Executive Director, In Response to News that Russian Government Has Endorsed Kyoto Protocol
Klaus Toepfer, UNEP Executive Director, said: "Russian ratification of the Kyoto Protocol is the final step needed to bring this crucial treaty on climate change into force."
"The news today that the Government of Russia has endorsed the Protocol and will present it to the Duma, the Russian parliament, is cause for celebration", he said.
"UNEP is convinced that, while only the first step in a long journey towards stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere, the Kyoto Protocol is the international instrument for addressing global warming.
"Russian action to ratify it will breathe new life into the international climate negotiations which resume in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in December. These must now ensure that developed nations meet their initial emission reduction targets while ensuring sufficient funds are made available to developing countries to allow them to reduce their vulnerability to global warming.
"Ratification will also invigorate introduction of and research into cleaner fuels, more efficient energy generation and renewable energies such as wind, solar and wave power. Over the past year of so we have been assembling all the necessary building blocks to ensure that the Protocol becomes operational as soon as possible.
"Russia's green light will allow the climate train to leave the station so we can really begin addressing the biggest threat to the planet and its people. I hope other nations, some of whom like Russia have maybe been in the past reluctant to ratify, will now join us in this truly global endeavour.
"Recent months, in which a series of hurricanes have devastated the Caribbean and the parts of the Eastern United States, show that an international alliance against climate change and for the reduction of gases is even more necessary than when Kyoto was signed in 1997. These kinds of natural disasters, with their appalling loss of life and significant economic costs, are likely to become even more frequent and extreme unless global warming is effectively checked."
For information on the Kyoto Protocol, see www.unfccc.int. For information on UNEP activities related to climate change, see www.unep.org/themes/climatechange/