Russia may not ratify Kyoto Protocol

Russia warned on Friday that it might decide against ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, a move that would kill off the pact against global warming, which had already been rejected by the United States. "There is a risk. There is a risk, without a doubt," Deputy Minister Mukhamed Tsikanov of the Ministry for Economic Development and Trade said at the Earth Summit. "Because...we don't have the economic stimulus, the economic interest in the Kyoto Protocol," he said. At the same time, he noted that, for the moment, Russian officials still planned to ratify the protocol. Moscow believes billions of dollars it expected to earn by selling "rights to pollute" under the treaty's quota trading mechanism are now in doubt, since the United States, the biggest potential buyer, has pulled out of theKyoto process. West European countries, the strongest backers of the deal, have expressed confidence that Moscow will ratify it after a certain amount of bargaining. Tsikanov said Moscow would be ready to talk to Washington on a bilateral basis, but there had been no discussion yet, the Russia Journal reported.

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