Russia would support a new global warming treaty only if it requires nations to make binding commitments to limit greenhouse gas emissions, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Monday.
The final climate change pact — meant to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol — should also take into account the capability of Russia’s vast forests to absorb carbon dioxide, Putin said, adding that Kyoto did not “quite include” the issue.
Russia has the world’s largest forest reserves, covering some 8 million square kilometres. World nations hope to conclude a preliminary agreement at a December UN climate conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Moscow’s support for the Kyoto accord in 2004 — seven years after it was drafted — was crucial to its survival as Russia brought the number of ratifying countries to a level required to bring the pact into force. There are now more than 180 signatories.
Russia is responsible for 5 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas pollution. China and the US each account for about 20 per cent of world pollution.