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Russia Rejects Kyoto Protocol

Moscow, 2 December 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The Kremlin says Russia will not ratify the Kyoto Protocol limiting greenhouse gas emissions, effectively ending the protocol's chance of being implemented in its current form. President Vladimir Putin's economic adviser, Andrei Illarionov, told reporters today that the protocol would limit Russia's economic growth.

The Kyoto Protocol calls for countries to reduce their levels of greenhouse gas emissions from industries, vehicles, and other sources that are believed to be contributing to global warming.

The protocol needed to be ratified by at least 55 countries, accounting for at least 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions in 1990. Under the treaty, that minimum can now only be reached with Russia's ratification, because the United States rejected the treaty.

The United Nations, several European governments, environmentalists, and many scientists say the Kyoto Protocol is a vital first step in reducing the effects of global warming.