Presidential Advisor casts doubt on effectiveness of Kyoto Protocol

'The advantages of the Kyoto Protocol for Russia are somewhat illusory,' according to Andrei Illarionov, the president's economic advisor. At the G8 summit in Evian he said that the level of quotas that Russia will be able to sell as part of the agreement has been significantly raised.

'On the whole, Russia is in favour of minimizing climate change, but we still haven't received answers to a number of important questions,' Illarionov said. However, he cast doubt on the theory of global warming and also on the significance of human activity to this problem.

Illarionov highlighted the fact that there has been no major research into the long-term consequences of ratification of the treaty nor an analysis of its effectiveness. He reminded those present that the signatories to the treaty only produce 30% of the world's carbon dioxide, whereas non-signatories produce 70%.

Illarionov also stressed that it is still unclear what obligations Russia will have to take on when it ratifies the treaty. He said that the US had left the treaty after calculating the expenses it would bring. 'The US decided that these expenses were excessive. I'm not convinced that Russia can afford expenses that the world's richest country couldn't afford,' said Illarionov.

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