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Rules in place, Russia must join Kyoto now

Rules in place, Russia must join Kyoto now

Milan At the close of the climate negotiations in Milan, Greenpeace called upon Russia to do the right thing, and join the 120 other nations that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol. Russia's ratification is required for the Kyoto Protocol to enter into force and become binding international law.

"We admired President Putin's principled stand against unilateralism and in favor of the rule of law when he opposed the illegal war in Iraq earlier this year. We call upon him to exercise those same principles, join the broad community of nations who have put the global welfare ahead of narrow national interests, and submit the Kyoto Protocol to the Duma for ratification as a matter of urgency. The climate cannot wait, and neither can the hundreds of millions of people, mostly in the developing world, who are already feeling the negative impacts of climate change," said Steve Sawyer, Greenpeace International political director.

At the close of negotiations on the Kyoto Protocol in Milan today, Greenpeace described progress as excruciatingly slow, and the Protocol as imperfect, but acknowledged it was the only agreement to protect the world from the truly global problem of dangerous climate change.

"Six years after the Kyoto Protocol was formed, the rules as to how it will work have finally been resolved," said Sawyer. "The agreement has been weakened in many areas because of the selfish interference of the USA, Australia and the OPEC countries, but it provides us with the framework with which we can begin to address the climate challenge. We applaud those countries that are moving ahead to implement Kyoto, and urge the rest to follow.

"Mr. Putin and Mr. Bush are only looking out for their own selfish interests, at the expense of the rest of the world. But the Kyoto Protocol is bigger than Russia or the USA. It's about protecting the climate of the whole world. Billions of people are at risk from climate change - as sea levels rise, temperatures increase, droughts and floods become more devastating and ecosystems are lost."

The Kyoto Protocol is still the only game in town, however it will have to be strengthened in future commitment periods to meet its ultimate goal. It has many shortcomings, such as the inclusion of GMO trees and monoculture plantations in sinks projects in the CDM, and much greater efforts will be needed to cut emissions.

"There is not much good news for the environment in the final sinks rules. The door is now wide open for destructive social and environmental projects, including use of GMOs and plantations.Greenpeace calls on parties to steer clear of sinks projects or the future will hold large scale plantations with non-native monocultures displacing local communities and stakeholders," said Sawyer.

"The Kyoto Protocol alone won't save us - but the longer we delay in taking the first step, the harder it will be to stop irreversible damage to the planet."

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