This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

September 11, 2002

Russia Aims to Ratify Kyoto; Australia May Follow Suit

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov announced last week that Russia intends to ratify the Kyoto Protocol "in the near future." The announcement was made during the Prime Minister's speech to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. Combined with the announcement that Canada intends to ratify the treaty (covered in last week's EREN Network News), the Russian news indicates an increasing probability that the global warming treaty will enter into force. See the summary of the speech on the Web site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, speaking in a radio interview on September 4th, suggested that his country might change its mind regarding the Kyoto Protocol. Although Australia has previously refused to ratify the treaty, the Prime Minister said in the interview, "If we become convinced in the months ahead that it's in Australia's interest to sign the protocol, we'll sign it..." See the transcript of the interview on the Prime Minister's Web site.

Whether the Kyoto Protocol is ratified or not, a group of business and environmental leaders recently joined together to call for an international framework that allows business to effectively address the risks of climate change. Members of Greenpeace and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), two groups that are usually at odds, joined together to call for international agreements that will create "a level playing field that avoids the confusion of differing national implementations." The WBCSD is a coalition of 160 international companies, including many of the world's largest energy, industrial, and automotive industries. See the WBCSD press release.