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YABLOKO determines the directions of Russia's environmental policy and calls on the State Duma to ratify the Kyoto Protocol

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The Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO will prepare all the necessary documents for ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by the State Duma. This statement was made by Chairman of the party Grigory Yavlinsky, speaking at a meeting of the Round Table, attended by ecologists and parliamentarians and held in Moscow in June 2003.

In addition to the prospects of ratification and entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol, the participants of the Round Table discussed a range of problems related to Russia’s environmental policy. Yavlinsky said that the goal of this policy should be to protect the health of the population. "There are two main directions: protection of the individual and the environment from technogenic factors and protection of foodstuffs," stressed YABLOKO's leader in a speech at the Round Table. "Ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, said Yavlinsky, - is the key issue for resolution of all these problems."

He also said that YABLOKO would be ready to submit draft documents required for ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by the State Duma to the Russian parliament already in autumn. The Kyoto Protocol holds a special place among international agreements in environmental protection: it envisages economic and financial mechanisms and instruments for their implementation. At the beginning of 2003 the Protocol was ratified by 102 countries, in particular by EU member states, Japan, Canada, China, Brazil, almost all the countries in Eastern Europe and the CIS. Only two countries - the USA and Australia - refused to participate in the Protocol until 2013. In the current situation Russia's voice is decisive: under the Kyoto Protocol without US ratification the protocol cannot come into force without Russia's voice.

Experts from the Round Table agreed that Russia would benefit from ratification of he Kyoto Protocol economically and for environmental reasons. At present Russia's economy is oriented towards exploitation of natural resources. Ratification of the Protocol will encourage introduction of progressive resource-saving technologies. Economically ratification of the Protocol will benefit Russia, as the country will be able to sell or exchange Russia's underused quotas on environmental pollution for new technologies for our industry.

In his speech Yavlinsky also noted that at present 70% of Russian GDP was "tied" to the raw material industries, first of all, oil-extracting ones. However now, after the Iraqi crisis, said Yavlinsky: “huge efforts and huge resources of industrially developed countries will be spent on the creation of technologies based on other types of energy resources rather than oil, and a general reduction in oil consumption will create serious problems for Russia's economy. Therefore we need to introduce new industrial technologies now: ratification of the Protocol will encourage this process.” YABLOKO's leader is convinced that Russia can be a competitive and economically progressive country.

YABLOKO thinks that the abolition of the amendments adopted by the Duma last year to permit imports of spent nuclear fuel into Russia is another urgent task to ensure resolution of acute ecological problems.

Deputy Chairman of the YABLOKO party Sergei Mitrokhin noted that the danger of nuclear waste imports would soon become more real than two years ago. "The position of the USA opposing Russia's nuclear programmes in Iran saved us at the time. But as we have recently heard from the statements of the President at the G8 summit, this position can change and there may be a decision that opens the way to large-scale imports and burial in Russia of nuclear waste. This threat is very real," stressed Mitrokhin.

Already in spring the YABLOKO faction submitted to the State Duma a package of laws connected with the nuclear waste problem. The main draft law envisaged complete and definite prohibition of the burial of imported nuclear waste in Russia. "The Duma Committee on Ecology has been hindering this draft, stated Mitrokhin. - They demand from us implementation of some bureaucratic formalities which are very difficult to implement, as we have to obtain innumerable conclusions from the government which are not required for the adoption of other laws. But we are doing all we can to ensure examination of this package of laws by parliament and will time their passage with the election campaign so that deputies can pass this test for patriotism" Mitrokhin thinks that "from the patriotic point of view there can be nothing worse than the transformation of Russia into an international burial ground for nuclear waste."

"Let us not turn Russia into a raw material appendage”, Yavlinsky told participants of the Round Table. “Let us right now do two things: abrogate the law on imports of nuclear waste into Russia from all over the world, which I consider to be an ecological crime of colossal proportions, and submit the Kyoto Protocol to the State Duma for ratification. Let us see how different factions will vote. This will be a good ecological test."

See also:

YABLOKO for Environmental Safety of Russia
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