Kyoto Protocol: Russia Does The Right Thing

Environmental and sustainable business coalitions unit to praise Russian ladership for seeking ratification of Kyoto Protocol

Published: 15-Oct-2004

WASHINGTON DC -- In a letter sent today, 30 environmental and sustainable energy business organizations congratulated Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin for his decision to seek approval of the Kyoto Protocol by the Russian Parliament. In a second letter, the groups urged U.S. President George Bush to "follow the example set by President Putin and lead the way for the United States to re-engage the international community" in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions contributing to global climate change.

Spearheaded by the Sustainable Energy Coalition, the letters noted that Russian ratification of the Kyoto Protocol is "an important step towards addressing the worsening problem of climate change and stabilizing the production of global warming gases causing it." The groups further predicted that the decision, though "controversial," would "pay for itself many times over in both economic and environmental terms."

"With Russia's approval of the pact, the Kyoto Protocol will set in motion a global system of carbon emissions trading which will almost certainly result in billions of dollars ($US) being invested by other countries in more energy-efficient industries in Russia. The Kyoto Protocol will also facilitate Russia's tapping its vast renewable energy potential and creating new industries to meet its future energy needs. The end result will be a cleaner environment for Russian citizens and a more energy-efficient and competitive Russian economy."

However, the U.S.'s "continued rejection of meaningful international involvement in the effort to address climate change is not only undermining the global environment but also risks great damage to the American economy," according to the letters' signers. "By not being a signatory, the United States now faces the very real possibility of putting itself at a serious competitive disadvantage in the world marketplace."

"Russia's now-likely approval of the Kyoto Protocol means that U.S. business will be cut out of the new carbon trading markets which have already been set up in London. Furthermore, carbon trading and incentives to install renewables and other clean technologies in the treaty will give companies in Europe and elsewhere a financial advantage in joint trading agreements with former Eastern bloc and developing countries."

"In addition, by giving industry, local authorities and consumers incentives to take action on climate change, Russia, Japan, the European Union and the other industrialized countries that have joined the protocol will set themselves on a path to greater economic efficiency. This will ultimately translate into foreign enterprises being significantly more competitive in the global marketplace."

Citing the growing evidence of climate change and the U.S.'s significant responsibility for it, the groups urged President Bush to "commit [the United States] to binding goals for the reduction of greenhouse gases. We believe that addressing climate change with policies and investments that favor increased energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies will not only help the environment but also create millions of new, high-quality domestic jobs and businesses. It will be a net win for the U.S. economy."

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