After a long period in which it seemed that Russia would, quite rightly, have nothing to do with the appalling Kyoto Treaty, it looks as if Putin might sign up after all. In terms of the perception over here of an “isolated” US, that’s bad news, as that is likely to increase domestic pressure on this country to sign up for this suicide pact as well. So, there are two points, for now, to make about Moscow’s new stance. Firstly, it appears to have nothing to do with the environment (Russian scientists have been scathing about the ’science’ of Kyoto) and everything to do with Moscow’s attempt to win EU support for Russia’s admission to the WTO. Secondly, because Russian heavy industrial production is currently far lower (all those hopeless Soviet factories inefficiently producing goods that no-one wanted or needed) than it was in 1990 (the base year for Kyoto purposes) the restrictions on carbon emissions imposed by the treaty will have no effect on Russian economic development.
UPDATE: There’s some useful commentary on Russia’s move here.