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November 1, 2004
Russia votes to ratify Kyoto, bringing Protocol into force
MOSCOW, RUSSIA-On October 22, the lower house of the Russian government voted almost unanimously to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. The accord still has to pass through Russia's upper parliament and be signed into law by President Vladimier Putin; these final steps are expected very soon. Final ratification by Russia will bring the Protocol into force, making its terms and conditions binding under international law on all the signatory industrialized countries whose greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions together account for 55% of the world total. Support from Russia, which accounts for about 17% of global GHG emissions, has been deemed vital since 2001, when the U.S. - which emits about 25% of the world total - refused to sign. Ninety days after Russia's ratification, these nations will have to begin reducing their combined GHG emissions to meet the Protocol target of 5% below 1990 levels by 2008-2012. Each signatory country has its own specific target and the United Nations says most are currently falling far short of meeting their commitments. Emissions trading is seen as one way of helping major emitters meet their targets.