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Russia and Global Warming. UN begs Russia not to kill Kyoto Protocol

The head of the UN climate panel called on Moscow not to veto the Kyoto Protocol, saying it was wrong to assume global warming could help Russia and warning it would suffer politically if it killed the pact. "I don't think a negative decision on Kyoto would be in Russia's interest overall," said Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

President Vladimir Putin backed away last month from Russian promises to ratify the 1997 Kyoto Protocol limiting emissions of greenhouse gases, saying he was undecided about its benefits. He joked that rising temperatures might save Russians money on fur coats. "Simplistic assumptions that climate change would help Russian agriculture and make that extremely cold country warmer are scientifically erroneous," Pachauri said. "The impacts of climate change on Russia could be quite complex."

Some Russian scientists reckon a warmer climate might extend agricultural areas northwards, but others say rainfall might decrease in southern regions, causing more droughts and floods. The Kyoto Protocol, which aims to limit emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide from cars and factories, will collapse without Russian support. The US pulled out in 2001 (Reuters 10/17/03).

Pachauri is from India and is therefore not an impartial observer. My own tentative conclusion is that the Kyoto protocol is ineffective, global warming will continue, and Russia and Canada will be beneficiaries. If the Arctic Ocean is opened to navigation, humanity will be the beneficiary.

Ronald Hilton - 10.27.03