China Welcomes Russian Approval of Kyoto Protocol
BEIJING China welcomed on Thursday Russia's ratification of the Kyoto climate change protocol and urged countries that have not done so to follow suit.
Russia's upper house of parliament ratified the protocol on Wednesday. The pact aims to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane.
President Vladimir Putin's signature is needed as the final step to kickstart global efforts to try to curb the pace of climate change, which scientists believe will cause more intense storms, severe droughts and rising sea levels.
"It brings hope for the ultimate legalisation of the Kyoto Protocol. China welcomes this move," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue told a news conference. "We hope countries which have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol can approve it like Russia as soon as possible."
China has approved the treaty but has no obligation to cut carbon dioxide emissions during the pact's first phase to 2012.
China, the world's fastest-growing major economy, is also looking at ways to curb greenhouse gas production, including promoting the use of solar panels and wind power. The China Daily said last week the government was drafting a law requiring power companies to buy electricity generated by green energy sources.
Under Kyoto's terms, developed countries responsible for 55 percent of the industrialized world's emissions must ratify the pact for it to come into force and Putin's signature is crucial to meet this condition. If he does, 127 countries would have signed up.
Russia accounts for 17 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
The United States, by far the world's top polluting and richest country, produces 36 percent. But Washington pulled out of the pact in 2001, saying it would be too expensive for its economy and that it unfairly benefited the developing world because they were not bound by the same reduction targets.
The European Union pushed ahead and put heavy pressure on Moscow to approve it, with Putin finally pledging backing after E.U. leaders gave Russia favorable terms to enter the World Trade Organization.