Putin’s Move Toward Kyoto Protocol Isolates Bush

[ The reprint below is excerpted from the full article. –BL ]

US isolated as Russia moves to back Kyoto

23 May 2004 | The Independent

by Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor

President George Bush’s bid to stop international action to combat global warming faces failure this weekend, as he is left more isolated than ever before both at home and abroad.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin – who will effectively decide whether the Kyoto Protocol stands or falls – announced on Friday that his country would “rapidly move towards ratification” in the wake of a complex deal with the European Union. [A source says this increases] the likelihood of the treaty coming into effect “from less that 50 per cent to about 90 per cent.”

Mr Bush is also coming under increasing pressure at home…. The Senate … is expected to pass a resolution backing strong action on global warming next year, whoever wins the US presidential election….

Under the protocol’s complex terms, Russia’s support is all that is needed to bring it into effect….

Friday’s deal, brokered by the EU trade commissioner, Pascal Lamy, will let Russia join the [WTO] so long as it doubles the domestic price [of certain fuel]….

Surprisingly, Mr Bush is under pressure from the industry responsible for much of the pollution: electric power companies owning nearly two-fifths of US generating capacity have endorsed legislation that would compulsorily limit their emissions of carbon dioxide, the main global-warming gas. There are even indications that ExxonMobil, the main industry cheerleader for the President’s position, is beginning to change its stance.

Three key Republican-governed states – California, New York and Massachusetts – have parted company with the President and moved to take aggressive measures to reduce emissions. Both houses of Congress have called on the Bush administration to return to the negotiating table.

The US will not join Kyoto as it stands. But a deal looks more possible this weekend than at any time since Mr Bush took office.

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